Let me set the scene for you. Today I’m sitting in my not-so-quiet office as coworkers hustle and bustle around me, I’ve eaten way too many mixed nuts to curb my hunger during this Fast, and I think my chair needs to be adjusted…or maybe my spine does.
I’m working through my to-do list and I’d already call it a quite productive day, but in the back of my mind I have a hazy fog of stress floating around. If you have dropped in for the first time, let me fill you in on our hearts right now. Danielle and I have a stirring passion for encouraging women of all ages (and guys too!) to pursue their dreams, tackle goals, & make big things happen. We are working diligently behind the scenes to make Sincerely Darling a fill-up station where our weary readers can come to get re-energized about their journey and get pointed in the right direction, both practically and spiritually.
But can I tell you, today I’m struggling too.
My current lists are starting to pile up and not just with To-Dos, but with small goals to start achieving and milestones to reach. Some of my business goals are personal, some are team ones with Dani, & some are for other people. In addition to those, already overshadowing items, I was convicted in myself yesterday when I realized that I was working through our Fast with no clear prayer directives. I’ve been starting each day off with devotion & prayer, but I hadn’t taken the time to write down my petitions & declarations so that I could give my prayers that extra OOMPH they require during this time. I just didn’t take the time. So whether your looming list of goals & such is as everyday as chores, or you’re spending extra time with God this January, you and me both need to try out some techniques for staying focused and accomplishing some things.
Manage your time effectively
Try this trick! Allot blocks of time to each task that you have to accomplish. Give yourself a set 45 minutes for this design project, 30 minutes for reading and responding to emails, 30 minutes to clean up the kitchen, etc. Set a timer & when it goes off, move onto the next item! You’d be so surprised what you can get done in what seems like a small amount of time and by putting a time limit on your task, you eliminate the desire in the back of your brain to waste time and drag your feet, especially with something you might not have a desire to do (read: Cleaning the bathroom!).
Put on some headphones
This time of the year is SUCH a busy time in my office! We have extra temps squeezed in and employees that usually work from home coming in for the busy season. I always start to feel like the Grinch in January, ranting about “All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” Thank the Lord for blessing the world with whoever created headphones, because they save me. If you’re having a hard time tuning out the world, throw on some headphones and focus in on your task. Make sure the music (or podcast!) is applicable to the task and go for it! I like praise & worship for my morning when I’m responding to emails and making my list for the day, a little Stevie Nicks for my 2pm slump, and some Americana for my 4-5pm cool down hour.
Learn to forgive yourself
Sometimes we will follow a schedule and stay as focused as possible, but some goals just might not get reached. Maybe it’s because of a client, financial restriction, or random crazy things that just happen, but it’s incredibly important for us to remember that not meeting a goal doesn’t equal failure. TRY AGAIN! Forgive yourself and this crazy world for the stumble and jump back on the goal train! (Not Soul train…that’s a different train) At the end of the day, His plans aren’t our plans & I’m sure that some of times that we stall out on something the first time around, the timing just might not be right.
Ditching the Unnecessaries
This little tidbit is two-fold: First off, get rid of those time-wasters that sucking up your productivity throughout the day. Are you an Instagram junkie? Maybe you need to assign your scrolling it’s own time block. Are you a serial binge-watcher like myself? Limit Netflix for the weekends only & delete that app from your phone. I’m personally SO bad about having Netflix playing on my phone or iPad while I work on a design project, when I could be using my ears for something more productive while my fingers are hard at work on the keyboard.
Second, weed out those things that are masking themselves as productive tasks, but really aren’t. Checking your email is technically real work, but doing it all day every time the notification goes off on your phone isn’t a good use of time. Turn off those notifications and only address email at specific times a day. This doesn’t work for everyone of course, but if you think it might work for you, no better time than now to give it a shot!
I’ll be praying this week for increased clarity and focus over every task that you set your mind to. If you try out any of our tips, leave us a comment here or over on our Facebook page to let us know how it worked for you!