Are there too many things competing for your attention, all at the same time?

Do you wish you had another hour or two in your day?   You’re not alone!  My clients often ask me for support around time management.

Now, I’ve been known to take the hard-line stance and tell them to just say NO to things that are less important. But, I get that “that’s not always possible,” and sometimes, everything seems important!  As my business has grown, I, too, have begun to wonder how I’m supposed to fit it all in.  So I started paying close attention to how I spend my time, and I had an interesting realization.  It is time to learn how to stop getting distracted and start staying focused!

Distractions are beyond a doubt one of the biggest time drains in our culture.  According to The Book of Times, by Lesley Alderman, the average worker is interrupted every 3 minutes, 50 seconds.  56% of these are inflicted by others, and 44% are self-inflicted.  Every time you are interrupted, your brain needs to shift gears back and forth to the task at hand.  Some call this multitasking, but the problem is that multitasking is actually impossible.  Even though we might believe we’re accomplishing more by doing two things at a time, we are actually just quickly switching back and forth between tasks.  When we “multitask,” we end up taking twice as long to do things, and our error rate goes up. 

Call it the power of intention, neuroscience, or just plain common sense, but staying focused is the necessary ingredient for creating the work-life balance you seek.

If you are constantly distracted, you will have a hard time getting anything done. If you can’t get anything done, no amount of time in the day will be enough.

I’ve implemented the following three steps into my days in order to stop getting distracted while I’m working—I find them essential to staying focused.

  1. Talk to family members, coworkers, or friends who have a tendency of interrupting you throughout your workday. If someone came to mind when you read that sentence, then you probably know how much time it can take out of your day to switch between work and attending to the needs of other people.  This can be one of the biggest time drains, especially for the work-from-home parents among us.  While I know that it can be a challenge, I urge you to have the conversations you need to have to stop being distracted by   This may include rearranging childcare schedules or planning for you to check in at the time that is best for you rather than randomly throughout the day.
  1. Lump all “like activities” together. For example, at work, you can designate certain times in the week when you see all your clients, make all your phone calls, do all your billing, schedule all your meetings, and so forth.  At home, you can create a regular time each week to make all your meals, fold all your laundry, or do all your errands.  When you do this, your brain will no longer need to jump from one activity mode to another and can stay focused, and you eliminate the extra time it takes to begin tasks and complete them.
  2. Designate one time in the day for reading email and going online. For many of us, our devices and social media are our biggest distraction.  Even if our online interaction is work-related and therefore important, when we constantly interrupt other tasks with emails, texts, and Facebook updates, it may feel like we’re always busy but never able to get anything done.

Here’s how to do it:

Have a running list of emails and messages to send.  Write down anything you come up with throughout the day so you’re not distracted by the thought of having to send the email.  Plan one time each day to send and respond to emails.  Give this a time limit.  Then close your email until tomorrow.  I know this can be easier said than done; the immediacy of the Internet is addictive.  But, I can tell you first-hand how much more focused and productive I feel when I don’t let email constantly distract me.

What are your biggest distractions? How different would your life be if you could eliminate them and stay focused? If you’re ready to receive support in balancing your work and life in a fulfilling, sustaining, and easeful way, sign up for a free Discovery Session today—with my help, you’ll get clear on the next steps necessary to living the life you truly deserve.

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