Do you have a “word of the year”? If not, do you know why it is important, not to mention, life-changing to choose a word of the year? First of all, it starts you from where you want to BE, instead of a typical New Year resolution that focuses on what you want to change. So if you want to BE courageous, for example, your word of the year could be BRAVE. The awesome part of choosing a word of the year is that once you have chosen your word, the whole world starts shifting. Not massively at first. But your word is with you all the time so you will see it pop up in everything you think or do.
With that said, my word for this year is FOCUS! As a mom, wife, daughter, business owner, accountant, friend, pet owner, philanthropist, and a personal growth enthusiast, I never could get everything done and in a way that made me happy and whole. I knew that I wanted to change and the only way I could do that was to FOCUS. It took some adjustment, but once I made up my mind and dove right in! Now I want to share my tips on how I focused and stopped wasting time.
- Silence your cell phone! The number one tip that I started to implement into my routine was to periodically silence my cell phone. For instance, during dinner with my family there is no cell phone use. When I am writing an article, such as during this moment, I turn the ringer of my cell phone off so there are no distractions. When are your most important times and how can you implement this tip?
- Clean and organize your space(s). Whether it is your work desk, your family playroom, and/or your kitchen, nothing wastes time more than having to search for an item that has disappeared into a cluttered pile. Make sure you take the time to clear and organize your spaces. You will immediately feel and see the difference it makes in your schedule.
- Keep a notebook handy. While you are focused on one action there is bound to be something that pops in your head that you need to do or remember. Acknowledge the thought and get it out of your head by immediately writing it down in a notebook. Then you can refer back to the notebook when your current task has been completed.
- Take a break. If possible, take a break between each task. This will keep you motivated and deter burnout. I like to take a quick walk or simply fix a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy for ten minutes. It’s all about focusing on the break, though! Everything you do should come with focus. Try not to think of anything else but the task at hand. I know this is hard, but it can be done. It just takes practice. For instance, if you are playing with your children, that should be the only thing you are focused on in that moment. Just set realistic timers for moving on to the next task.
- Delegate! I will admit that this one is hard for me. I feel like I need to be the one to do it if I want it to be done right. (Yes! I am one of those people) However, a lot of tasks are menial and can and should be delegated to make the best use of your time. Take note of which tasks you may can delegate.
- Track your time. A good way to see where you time is actually going is to keep track of what you are doing hour to hour. It will help you to see where the bulk of your time is being wasted, so you can preempt it before it happens next time.
- Batch similar tasks. For instance, make and return all phone calls at the same time every day. This also works with emails! The trick is to train yourself not to then check your emails throughout the rest of the day. Run all of your errands while you are out and about instead of making multiple trips.
- Stop Multitasking!! Multitasking is one of the biggest time wasters there is! You can’t do two, or more, things at one time and do them well. Focus on one task at a time and then move on to the next task.
- Prioritize. I suggest making a to-do list each morning and grouping items into 3 different categories – MUST, NEED, and WANT. Obviously, the MUST do tasks should be the first things you complete.
- Discover your “prime time.” Are you a morning person or do you seem to get more done in the evening? I used to be a night owl, but kids can quickly turn that around! Haha! Now, my prime time is early morning or early afternoon. For instance, it is 2:00pm while I am writing this article.
FOCUSing is now enjoyable and fun for me, but had I not made it my word of the year I may still be floundering in my to-do lists dazed and confused. I hope this article both inspires you to focus and stop wasting time, as well as, to inspire you to create a word of the year! If you want to share your word of the year with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
Thanks for reading!
Erin Sharplin Love