Ellen Whitney
April 11, 2016
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How to Stay Focused & Energized While Working Through Your to-do List

Some days simply having too many thoughts and too many things on my to-do list paralyzes me. You’ve probably seen the meme, “I’ve got 99 problems but I’m going to take a nap and ignore them all.” Yep, this is me more times than I’d like to admit, simply because I just don’t know what my next step should be.

The struggle with being an entrepreneur is that my life and business can truly go in any direction at any time. While that’s the beauty, it’s also frustrating because it can be hard to truly focus in on anything. On those days when inspiration strikes and I want to conquer everything at once, I end up not “conquering” anything because I’m too scatter-brained and not giving my full attention to any one task.

While we’re not all living the entrepreneur life, many of our lives have become more hectic than ever. In such a fast paced society, it can be tough to balance a career, family, friends, hobbies, and whatever else life throws at us each day. Below are a few tips I’ve been using to help me stay focused and productive, and I hope they can help you too!

1) Write it down: Make a visual list of everything you must and want to complete, so no task “slips your mind”. Anytime you forget “what’s next” it’s written in front of you. This helps eliminate time spent in limbo.

2) Prioritize: Determine which tasks are most important, and write them on your list in that order. What HAS to be done today? Do that first. Are there any activities that are quick and easy? Go ahead and just get those out of the way so you can focus your full energy on the more complex tasks.

3) Set timelines: Instead of getting hung up on one idea for the entire day, set aside a block of time you are dedicating to working on that assignment. After that, move on to something else, and then come back to the trying task if you have time at the end of the day.

4) Exercise: This seems to find it’s way into everything, huh? 😉 But it’s true- if you’re having a creative block or simply can not focus, moving for even 10 minutes can help get fresh, oxygenated blood flowing to your brain.

5) Be Still: Ok, you’re probably thinking- “I don’t have time to get my to-do list done, how am I supposed to take time to do nothing??” Well, I’ve often found that when I’m in a state of being overwhelmed, sometimes I just need 5-20 minutes of sitting in silence, away from any chaos, to re-focus my mind. Whether or not you partake in a full on meditation (I do not, but have been considering taking up the practice) closing your eyes from the world briefly can clear away the clutter in your brain caused from the chaos of too many thoughts at once. Pair this with some deep breathing, and you should return to your tasks re-energized.

What methods do you use to help you stay productive and focused? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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