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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 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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