We all have cases of it. The productivity killer named “The Squirrel”. The Squirrel also goes by names such as Facebook, Email, and Laundry. Some times of the year it is much worse than others. If you are feeling stuck right now, and can’t seem to get anything done, I have some quick tips for controlling a severe case of “The Squirrels”.
- Set a timer. I use the Pomodoro Technique. As 25 minutes seems to be the perfect limit for me, I use an app to set the time, and then take 5 minute breaks when the timer goes off. I reset the timer and do not check email or any other messages during.
- Make lists. Make a list of everything you have to do. Then take the top three, put them on a separate list. Those three are the ones that you need to get done today. Take as many 30 minute chunks as needed to get those things done, and check them off as you get them accomplished. If I am having a particularly rough ADD day, I will even put things I have already accomplished on that list and scratch them off. Desperate? Yes. Does it work? Yes.
- Listen to music. For me, it tunes out the noise, or even the deafening silence around me. It stops me from thinking about all the other things that are on my plate, and new projects that I could work on. I prefer listening on my studio-grade headphones over speakers, as they tend to produce the details like nothing else. Music inspires me to be creative as well. I need it to think.
- Go somewhere new. If I seem to hit a wall, and I cannot seem to focus in the slightest, just changing the scenery sometimes helps. I spend some days working from my office, then my couch, then the library, and then the coffee shop.
- Schedule email time and social media time. I answer emails from 10-11, and I attempt to do Facebook from 9-10. Facebook is honestly my worst squirrel. It’s been a constant battle for me not to get sucked into Facebook. My latest goal is to spend less of my life on there.
- Get a small notebook. I have one with me at all times. That way if I get some great idea that I must research or act on, I can simply jot it down and come back to it later.
If we want to have the pleasure of being self employed, then we have to control that chattering, pesky productivity killing squirrel. If we don’t control it, we’ll never make any money, and that would be bad. Using these steps should help tame your brain and help you move in the right direction.
Like many people, I have had so many crazy things happen in my life that I don’t know where I would be without these events. Whether it’s a world famous photo, moving constantly, traveling around the world, having a near death experience during a miscarriage, or losing my husband unexpectedly, I am at my best in chaos. Change is what I am good at!
I am here to show you that the best can come from the worst. Life is short. Do good things. Pursue your dreams. You won't regret it.