4 ways to keep your focus
Just a couple years ago, I was an absolute demon when it came to multi-tasking. I could get everything crossed off my to-do list before the day's end. I was the Queen of Projects, and I loved being busy with lots to do. I loved when people wondered how I "got it all done".
Fast forward to being a parent, a home owner, a business owner and a fiction writer. Most days, I cringe by the time the clock hits 2PM because I feel like the day is running away on me and I haven't got everything done. Working from home, I get distracted by dirty dishes, babies, the laundry, nice weather - texts, you name it.
I think the biggest problem is that I feel a responsibility to get all these things done, when before when I was younger, I could give two shits if my kitchen sink had a couple bowls in it. And like, sweeping? Who swept? Sure, maybe I'm a cleaner person now (maybe), but my responsibilities shifted my priorities, and I think this can happen to a lot of women.
Spiritual women, lightworkers, or those on a similar path as I am, often feel the pressure of "time" - Rebecca Campbell really nails this in her book Light is the New Black. And it doesn't matter if you work in journalism and your schedule is crunched by deadlines, or if you're a parent with your child coming home from school or daycare around 4PM, lightworkers have an underlying pressure within them of time, of the clock. So first and foremost, let's identify that pressure to get things done, and gently release it.
See ya fucking later clock.
Good. Now let's focus.
4 WAYS TO
KEEP YOUR FOCUS
1. YOU NEED ONE HOUR OF PHONE-FREE TIME
Maybe you need 12 hours, but let's be real: we are attached to our phones. But one of the biggest distractions that hinders our ability to focus and get stuff done is that pesky - amazing - irritating - addicting - stupid - love of my life - phone.
Get your phone out of the picture for a designated amount of time. I think an hour of focused "working" time is a good place to start. Put your phone in your purse on silent, or put it in another room. Set an alarm on it for an hour's time. That alarm will still go off even if your phone is turned down. If you don't believe me, set an alarm somewhere else to chill your nerves. I set my microwave because I'm at home when I focus.
Put some good tunes on. I know I really jam well when I have a topknot and some serious hardcore Jay-Z playing. And if your music is on your phone - man, those things have us wrapped around their finger! - play your music, but put your phone on silent that way your alerts don't interrupt your tunes.
2. DRESS SO YOU FEEL LIKE A ROCKSTAR
I think this might be a surprising tip to some, but when I was a multi-tasking guru, I always had my makeup did, my hair real nice, and I was in an outfit that was either comfortable chic, or made me feel like a real badass. Or both. Usually both.
I would slay those coffeeshop working hours.
When I feel like a schlep, I'm not as focused because I'm typically not subconsciously feeling my best. This affects me in a lot of areas, some that I may not even acutely realize, like with my ability to focus and concentrate. When I think I'm killing it, my insecurities aren't distracting me. An uncomfortable shirt isn't annoying me. I smell good. I feel good.
This can be a big hindrance if you work at home, or want to focus at home. A lot of people think one of the perks from living at home is staying in your jammies all day, and while that is totally nice some days, it doesn't always feel nice to be in that zone day after day. And a lot of experts believe if you work from home, you need to wake up and put your suit on so you can click your subconscious into Boss Mode. Bustle gets it. Sometimes, we just want to feel like we're killing it. And I really believe this mindset helps us get shit done.
3. KEEP YOUR SPACE BRIGHT
Don't work in the dark. Even if you're a night owl, and even if your only designated "focus time" is after the sun has set. When it's dark, our brains are telling us "Activate Sleep Mode" because our bodies release chemicals in a 24 hour cycle. Darkness can interrupt/change or influence these chemicals. When it's dark, your body reads that as, "the sun has gone down, it must be time to sleep and recharge" - NOT time to focus.
Darkness = sleep. Working in the dark doesn't lead to our most productive moments. Yeah, we can still pump out good stuff in the dark sometimes, but you'll find you're easily distracted - tired (duh), and less creative.
Of course, bright natural light is best. But this is real life. I work a lot once Hawksley has gone to bed and the sun is setting. Try to use overhead lighting (since this mimics the sunshine) rather than lighting your space solely with table lamps. Lower, dim lighting creates a soothing ambience that actually prepares you for sleep, so try to create a space that has bright light flooding the room.
You can still have a table lamp.
4. CHOOSE YOUR ENVIRONMENT WISELY
If you're like me, you might get distracted by a messy environment. Messy environments also clog up the chi in our space, creating stagnant, sluggish energy. Remember when I told you to forget the clock, and like, get over your messy kitchen? Well. That also means if it is messy, you probably shouldn't work in it.
If you typically work from home like me, sometimes your house is going to be dirty. It just is. It happens. If that's the case, and the deadlines are calling, find a bustling little coffeeshop or park to hold your focus for a bit of time. Your messy home is only going to distract you. And actually, since it is affecting the chi or vibe of your home, you may not pump out the best work that you could. We're influenced by our environments.
If the weather is shit, or you're flat broke and can't afford a coffee, then tidy your space before getting into the zone. If that means waking up earlier or going to bed later to get it done, do what you gotta do, girl.
When I do any energy work, I always give my space a quick once over as a sign of respect to set the tone for my practice, whether that's journeying, meditating, reiki, or whatever. This applies to whatever your sacred work is too. My other sacred work is writing, and pinning on Pinterest of course.