Monday morning is back with its daily routine and general dullness. Your annoying alarm clock buzzes, you have to put on pants, put on a happy face and make it to work on time. You get in, check your emails, your Facebook, you make a quick Snapchat video to let everyone know you are back to your regular Monday schedule, you check the news, and back to Facebook again. Half an hour just passed and now you’re telling yourself you NEED to get some work done, but first you’ve gotta watch the pug video your friend’s friend just shared…
More time wasted.
These days, even our DNA seems scattered. We can’t stay still, can’t stay calm, can’t stay focused for longer than 15 minutes. We stare at the clock and phone screens as if we don’t have bills to pay and obligations to take care of. Unfortunately, this lack of focus is causing a lot of mediocrity in our communities. Less people doing, living, creating, traveling. More people getting stuck in the mundane, stuck just earning enough to get by, stuck living in the past, anxious about a future they haven’t earned yet. Most people are wasting time doing nothing. Not getting promoted, not going for that better pay check, not living for their dreams, not losing the excess weight, not exercising, not eating better, and just settling for what is easier to handle. This is a sad truth in a world where the only thing that matters are results–the things we are getting done.
And I get it, I used to be guilty as charged for all of the above. I was a perpetual social media checker, and not because I was bored but because of habit. This is the number one distraction in today’s western world, and I am admitting this was and sometimes still is my biggest distraction. So I’ve vowed to work on doing something about it by creating a distraction free work zone and by making it my intention to aim for maximum impact in minimum time.
Before I started dedicating my life to accomplishing more I had no focus. No plan. No schedule. No structure. If it were up to me I would live my life this way. But that’s not the way the world works, that’s not how people make money. If I want to keep my job, I have to have a schedule. That’s just the way it is. I’ve learned to do more in one hour than what others do in eight. I’ve learned to set aside thirty minutes to plan for the day ahead. I’ve learned to be present during the lessons I teach because that’s what’s best for my students and for me.
I’ve learned to control my destiny by training my mind to concentrate and guess what? You can too!
Set an intention for the day. Just like you would set an intention for yoga practice, I find it helpful to set an intention before starting my day. I suggest you do this early in the morning before your work day begins. Start by taking 5 minutes to visualize what you would like your day to look like. Think: happy thoughts, successful encounters, organization, etc. If you think sales, you’ll get sales. If you think project completion, you’ll get project completion. Just make sure you are being realistic. You can also make it a habit to write this intention down, as a little extra motivation to make it happen. Ask yourself, “what do you want to accomplish today?”
Get in the zone. The morning sets the tone for the day. I find it important to drive to work with motivating, upbeat music. I see my commute to work as a way to transform myself into the relaxed, confident, and knowledgeable teacher that I am. I’m sure the same can work for you if you start to think of your working hours as full of wonderful possibilities instead of “ugh, another work day!” Other ways to get in the zone include- enjoying the silence, listening to a motivational audio-book, or rehearsing a presentation.
Prepare for the unexpected. Aim to get to work 5-10 minutes earlier than you’re supposed to. For one, anything can happen on your way to work, roads closed, detours, unusual traffic, or God forbid a car accident. I’ve encountered them all and it always seems to throw me off my game once I’m at work. Now I know better, so I like to prepare for the eventful scenarios that may or may not occur before work by getting in 15 minutes earlier than I’m supposed to.
Clear the clutter. If you are shuffling papers, folders, and documents around your desk, chatting on the phone, and checking an email, most likely you’ll end up achieving less or missing valuable information. I can tell you this, clutter creates confusion. Less is always more. Organize for the day you aim to have early in the morning. If you are arriving earlier than expected, that gives you the chance to clean up and organize your work space.
Plan ahead. With little effort you can make anything special if you plan ahead. Don’t waste time doing things that don’t fit into your master plan or your intentions for that day. If you track your results and then plan your week accordingly you will learn exactly what is working for you, what is lagging, and where to direct your energies. For example, have to lesson plan for every subject for two grades. It’s necessary for me to plan in advance about what I’m going to teach. I set a deadline for myself to have all the lesson plans done for both grades by Thursday. Leaving Friday with room to analyze or edit anything I need to add or get rid of.
Focus on the essential. No need to worry or overwhelm yourself with tons of information. Focus on what you need to learn and do for right now. Every milestone you achieve will strengthen your confidence in your business, work, and yourself. Try to take on one project at a time. As I mentioned, as an elementary school teacher, I have to teach all subjects to two grades at a time. I could easily get overwhelmed with all the information that eventually needs to make it into my students’ brains. That’s why it’s imperative for me to focus on one subject at a time. I begin the day teaching math, therefore the only thing I am preparing in the beginning of the day is math, nothing else. Then I’ll move from subject to subject the same way. You can use this same approach to handle sales, projects, presentations, etc.
Keep the momentum up. If you catch your attention wavering, change the pace. Take a five minute break to drink water, walk around, go outside, look at something pretty then get right back to business. Try to limit your social media intake during your work hours. Save it for your lunch break, bathroom break, or water break and try your best to only dabble in it for 5 minutes maximum and then move on to what’s in front of you and get those things done.There’s no greater dream killer than procrastination, and there’s no better time than this minute to get done what you need to get done. I find it easier to set a time and a timer for my social media needs while at work so that I don’t get carried away if anything juicy is really happening.
- Avoid making up excuses. Anything that gets in the way of the result is an excuse. Stick to your goals with a realistic deadline. Stick to your intention for that day- and you will move mountains to make it happen.
Recap on How to Double your productivity in 7 steps:
STEP 1: Create bulletproof goals
STEP 2: Compartmentalize your life.
STEP 4: Create a distraction free work zone. (see above)
STEP 6: Create a system to stay active
STEP 7: Stick to your sleeping schedule
All these suggestions are guaranteed to help you get more done at work, in less time, with extreme focus. It starts with creating an intention, then a structure that will get you in the zone and focused, then a schedule you can stick with. It has been said that the higher you aim, the higher the results will be, but there are no shortcuts to achieving more without actually doing more. Activity and getting things done is what drives your business, your job, or your role.