I have a confession (seems like this blog is my confessional time): I am NOT focused when it comes to my early morning routines. In fact, when I have something to do, and I set aside some time, I find I’m ALL OVER THE PLACE. Even writing this blog post, I’m struggling to stay on task.
I click links, watch mindless videos, and scroll through the social media feeds I’ve already seen today….just in case I’ve missed something. I drink coffee. I heat up my coffee. I pick my pen color, and I sit there. I look out the window and then I daydream. Focus is not something I’m excelling in these days.
But when I survey you, my readers, so many of your say you lack focus when it comes to Bible study. I thought: O No! Me too! And I wonder if I have anything to offer them….
You see, I’m not an expert in this area at all. I’m pretty scatterbrained, and although I love planners, I have a hard time keeping one filled in. I work best day-to-day. And I’m a huge list maker, but only to keep my thoughts in order. But there, have been times in my life I’ve been successful in focusing and seeing a task through until the end. For today, I’m gong to keep it simple and just tell you how I’ve gotten things DONE and maybe we can agree to work on lives and do better than we are right now. Progress, not perfection is the key!
Find a quiet spot. My spot is either out of the house, or at my desk with music playing. The music is usually instrumental (see playlist here). I think to focus it is important to get it as quiet as possible. I know this can seem impossibly, and with four little ones under eight years old I feel like it is impossible some days. But children can be taught to leave mommy alone. People can respect boundaries if you are clear you need quiet for a set amount of time.
Organize your thoughts. I do this by brain dumping. I have an on-going list of “to-do” things. I keep it beside me while I work. Because sometimes I’m working on something and I’ll think of something totally random. So I’ll put it on the paper next to me, so I won’t forget it, but then I’ll move back into my project and forget it for the moment. I do this both before I begin, while I’m working, and after I’m finished.
Cut out the phone, email, and other distractions. I have to put away my phone. I turn my email notifications off from my laptop, so I don’t have those popping up while I work on my computer too. Physically I place my phone in my purse, upstairs in my bedroom, or over on the kitchen counter. I turn it off, and decide whatever it is – can wait.
Use your time wisely. Don’t work “until its done,” set a time limit on how long you will work. Fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, two hours. Set a time, or look at the clock. Don’t watch the clock, but remember you only have a certain amount of time, so use it wisely. I do this best when I leave the house and work at a restaurant like Panera. Occasionally I’ll get to work on writing this way, so I’ve learned I only have a few hours to work, and I’m not going to be wasting my time on Facebook. I ask myself: what can I do right now that I can’t do later?
Start small. Don’t pick one of your big huge projects to work on. Begin with something small you want to accomplish. List out the steps, which should only include 4-5 at the most, and get to work. Completing a task feels so good, so set it small at first. Gradually add bigger things.
What about you? How do you stay focused?
I need tips to help me, so leave them in the comments below!
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