Why is it that just, when you need it, your concentration flies out the window? Why is it that when you WANT to do something, it seems like your mind just won’t cooperate?
Enter: the Productivity Trifecta.
There are three things that have to be present in order to get things checked off of your to-do list: motivation, concentration, and time.
And concentration is as flighty as a hummingbird. It doesn’t take much for it to go away:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being hungry
- Saying negative things to yourself
- Feeling the pressure of a deadline
- Replaying a fight with your spouse in your mind
- Dreading something else later that day
- Getting negative feedback about another project
- Eagerly waiting for something to arrive in your inbox or in the mail
- Needing something to happen first before you can do your part
- Worrying about not being able to do it correctly
- Anticipation of something fun you’re doing this weekend
- Being motivated to do something else on your list that’s not as big of a priority
- Answering a phone call or text message
- Replaying a special moment over and over in your mind
I could keep going.
Hopefully, you’re starting to sense that sometimes concentration disappears because of good things, too. It’s easy to think that bad things are the thieves of motivation. But the countdown until your vacation begins can keep you from focusing.
If you’re ready to get cracking on the things that you have to do, here are some steps to take:
- Go through the list that I started above. Do any of those things ring true for you? Then write them down. Are there other things that prevent you from being able to concentrate? Write those down, too. Be specific. It helps.
- Determine which of those things you can prevent. Go to bed earlier. Eat lunch instead of working through it and grabbing a pack of Nabs. Put your phone on silent. Send that email to ask the other person to do their end.
- Take action on those things that can be determined. A plan is great, but it’s only as effective as your action steps and commitment to sticking with it.
- Come up with a time of day to focus on the worries that you can’t really control. You may schedule your worry time for first thing in the morning, right after work, or even before bed. Keep it short- 15-30 minutes to vent about, journal about, or fret about your worries is enough.
- Create a fun ritual for the things you are excited about. Turn over a countdown chart to your vacation start date. Set up an app on your phone that sends you a reminder or picture about what’s about to happen. Design a vision board that you can glance at during the day to remind you of what you’re working towards.
- Develop a routine to get yourself in the mood. Follow that routine to help you get started and to stay focused.
Let me know if you have other ideas or things that you do to help you concentrate better! I’d love to hear them!
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