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7 Ways to Focus on What Really Matters

7 Ways to Focus on What Really Matters

Do you easily lose sight of the things that really matter in your life?

Do you always feel as if you’re constantly jumping from one thing to another throughout the day without having anything to show for your efforts?

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Here are seven ways to focus on what really matters, right here, right now.

Set three important tasks to complete each and every day.

Your to-do list may be a mile long, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be selective about what you are going to accomplish today. Make a point to set aside three important and/or time-sensitive tasks to complete each and every day. These tasks can be from different or similar areas of your life. For example, you might choose to include one work-related, one personal and one household task for your list, or you might decide to mix up the task types entirely. No matter which tasks you choose, make sure you are focusing on those tasks that should be done sooner rather than later.

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Seek to provide value in all that you do.

There’s a big difference between something that is done well versus something that is done poorly. Quality of work always speaks for itself, whether it is attention paid to detail, error- or mistake-free work, items that are sturdily constructed with top-grade materials or well thought-out and complete ideas and concepts. Instead of dashing through your work just to get it done, think about how you can bring or enhance the value of your own work. Can you put in a little bit more of your time and energy to make your work stand out? There’s no denying a job well done.

Plan for the long-term.

Instead of focusing on life’s little distractions or annoyances, take a step back and shift your focus to the long term. What goals would you like to achieve a month, a year, five years or ten years from now? Write down your goal in specific, measurable details, including the date you want to reach your goal, how you will know when you reach your goal as well as the specific steps you will take to reach it.

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Have a clear vision.

Is your mind muddled with lots of different ideas, projects or to-dos? The easiest way to get distracted is having too much information floating around in your head at one time. Get all of those thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper or on a computer screen so you can view them objectively. How many different thoughts or ideas do you have? Which items are the most time-sensitive or require more time to complete? See if you can narrow down all of your thoughts to one single vision you are willing to work towards starting right now.

Create a dedicated vision board, planner or calendar.

If you’re having trouble seeing the big picture you might want to consider setting up a vision board or a separate calendar or schedule to remind yourself of what really matters and is important in your life. You can pull out the board whenever you need a reminder without being distracted by all of your regular to-dos and tasks.

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Schedule regular weekly check-ins.

One of the best ways to stay focused is to consistently review your goals. Make a point to schedule regular check-ins for yourself each week to check up on your progress. Ask yourself whether you kept on track towards your goals or if you were sidetracked during the week. What items can you seek to correct for the following week?

Set aside some time for yourself.

It’s hard to know what to focus on if you’re constantly in motion, running from one thing to another. Try taking some down time just for yourself. Read a good book, watch the tide come in at the beach, go for a walk in the park, or just sit quietly at home. Spending some time alone can help put things in perspective.

How are you going to stay focused on what really matters to you in your life? Leave a comment below.

Featured photo credit: Focus/toolstop via flickr.com

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Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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