017-distracted

Over the weekend, I joined a program called Sold Out Launch and this thing is a BEAST. It has a ton of (really great and valuable) questions and exercises. But because I’m trying to put together my program during the week, I only had the weekend to work on the program.

And boy was I DISTRACTED CONSTANTLY.

I always tell people to work when there’s little or no distractions, but what happens when you don’t have a choice?

How do you get work done when you can’t avoid distractions?

Assess the Situation

First, I assessed which times of day had the *fewest* (or least likely to have) distractions. With my daughter, that’s usually in the morning.

Anticipate Problems and Distractions

Second, I anticipated distractions. I know what my daughter always asks for in the morning. She wants juice, a snack, her blanket, her potty seat on the toilet seat, etc. I also set up activities such as markers and paper. So I took a minute to set ALL of this up for her.

It of course didn’t stop her from bugging me every few minutes, but it certainly curbed a LOT of it.

Do the Most Important Things First

The first 5-10 minutes are crucial to establishing a work flow.

First determine the 1-2 things you MUST get out of this activity. These are your “A” priorities. Then list your “B” priorities, then “C” priorities (ref. ABCDE method – Brian Tracy; D is for delegate, and E is for e).

Typically, the activity that has the most pressing due date is the one that should be completed first.

OR

Activities with sequential order, the first in the sequence should typically be done first.

So let’s say that your project is to create an online course and for “today” you want to complete one lesson. Some activities would include:

– draft lesson outline
– create slides
– create worksheet
– record video

Note: if you work like me, I prefer to batch projects like this:
– create ALL lesson outlines
– create ALL slides
– create ALL worksheets
– record ALL videos

I realize some people think differently, so it’s up to you how you want to set it up. But don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it ;)

But let’s go back to our original example.
– draft outline
– create slides
– create worksheet
– record video

Before you can do slides or the worksheet, you need to do the outline.
– So your A priority is your outline.
– Slides and worksheets are B priorities.
– Consider video a C priority; set up a separate day to batch record all videos.

Set Up Stopping Points

When writing an outline, determine that completing a bullet point is a decent stopping point. Ideally you’d want to complete a section, but if you have a screaming toddler, the last bullet point will let you know where you last left off.

If you’re writing a book, finish up the sentence. If you have a little more time, finish up the last paragraph.

Avoid any tasks without good stopping points.
Videos don’t have great stopping points. Anything that requires recording should generally be recorded in it’s entirety (with bloopers cut out of course).

Dealing with Interruptions

Interruptions are a PAIN, plain and simple. But knowing your stopping points will lesson the frustration.

The hard part of interruptions is getting back “in the zone”.
When you have young children, you never know when the next interruption is going to be. We almost anticipate that we’re going to be interrupted again so we’re almost afraid to get back to work.

So, before you start, just take a breath and collect your thoughts. Let any feelings of frustration and anxiety ride through you, and when you feel better (or not as bad), return to your work.

Welcome the Interruptions

The more we resist interruptions, the more they seem to come. (“What you resists, persists.” – Carl Jung)

It could be that you’ve been working too long anyway.

OR if you’ve only been at it for 1-2 minutes and you get distracted, just consider it a mini break. After attending to an interruption, I take in some fresh air, stretch a little bit. After a string of about 3-4 frequent interruptions, I do something nice for myself – make a cup of tea, grab a cookie (as a treat only; never in a state of anxiety)

So whenever my daughter needs more juice, needs help on the potty, wants another snack, I look at it as an opportunity to show her some love.

If your child is *constantly* interrupting, perhaps they’re feeling lonely or left out. It might be good to just take a break, 5-10 minutes or longer, to spend quality time with them.

It is what it is

Nothing worth having ever came easy. If you really want a successful business, make your business a priority. Work/life balance isn’t easy. I don’t remember who said it, but the goal is not balance, but integration – finding a way to create a symbiotic relationship between work and life.

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