Apr 302013
 
work priorities

See how focused the cat is? Be the cat.

Work distractions come from all directions – and what is your biggest source of distraction? You. Here are three tips for staying focused on what matters most at work.

These tips are from Peter Bergman’s 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (my newest all-time favorite life and business book). It’s a game changer! But, since I’m featuring quips from moms who weren’t well-behaved this month, I’ll lead with a quote from the author of The Happiness Project:

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.” – Gretchen Rubin.

I have to change the way I approach my “every day”, because I’m flip flopping all over the place with Quips and Tips. I’ve created a billion different blogs, changed the look of them a gazillion times, and tweeted a zillion quips and tips – and am disheartened because my traffic is decreasing. I made almost $60,000 in 2012 from blogging, yet I feel like I’m fumbling and scrambling around like a fool.

But something changed! I learned the importance of knowing how to stay focused on what matters at work – and I want to share it with you.

Be repetitive

Bergman fleshes Rubin’s quip on “what you do every day” out:

“Most of our jobs hinge on repetition. That’s how we become good at anything. The problem is that we give up too soon because anything we do repetitively becomes boring.”

Are you distracted at work because you’re bored? Then you need to either find ways to make your daily rituals and repetitions more interesting, or you need to find a job or project that you’re passionate about. The more interested (enchanted?) you are, the more likely you’ll stay focused on what matters at work.

Being repetitive involves creating daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Don’t cram too many things onto your to-do list! If it’s jam packed, then of course you’ll distract yourself any way you can. If you want to stay focused on what matters at work, you need to pare down your list to the essentials.

If your productivity is low because of time management problems, read How to Reduce Stress by Managing Your Time Better.

Do what matters first

Before you check your email at work, Bergman suggests taking care of one of your daily priorities. Tim Ferriss said the same thing in The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (which is my other all-time life and business book).

To me, writing one Quips and Tips blog post a day matters. I need to stay focused on this, because it’s the crux of my business! What also matters is responding to my readers in a timely manner (something I’m guilty of neglecting because I get distracted), and connecting with other bloggers.

What matters to your job, business, life? Construct a schedule that prioritizes the things that matter to you. If you aren’t clear on what matters, then you won’t achieve your career goals.

Give yourself gentle, consistent reminders

I keep jumping all over the place with my Quips and Tips blogs because I forget what matters most to me. I took Bergman’s advice in 18 Minutes, and made a list of the things that matter to me.

It’s easier to stay focused at work if I remind myself of the things that matter to me:

  • Freedom
  • Being self-employed and working from home
  • Creating, writing, blogging
  • Making money blogging
  • Connecting with people online
  • Hearing from readers
  • Encouraging and inspiring people

My list of the things that matter is right in front of me – it’s my gentle, consistent reminder that I need to stay focused at work.

Does your job move you towards what matters in your life? If not, read Best Jobs and Careers for Introverts.

Have you created a list of things that matter to you? Maybe the first thing on your list is to read Bergman’s 10 Minutes, because it will change how you run your life, your career, your cat.

  2 Responses to “How to Stay Focused on What Matters at Work”

  1. You’re welcome, Bruce. :-)

  2. Thanks for the tips Laurie.