How to Focus on Your Work

how to focusI interviewed Emma Walton Hamilton yesterday for the podcast and after researching her and seeing the 147 things she’s involved in, asked when was she going to lend me her time expanding machine. Because I want it. She refused. It got ugly, let me tell you. So I’m stuck with nothing but my own ability to focus.
Last night I dreamed I found a very old list of important stuff I wanted to get accomplished and was so happy to see things on it I’d actually completed (also on the list was “Eat a lot of candy”). Now that the kids are older I don’t have the 8-3pm block of uninterrupted time, as they tend to text me a lot between classes. At least I hope it’s between classes. So I mute the phone and turn off the email- not hide it – turn it off, Katie, do you hear me?
But that dream made me realize that one thing I do is make a task list. It sounds obvious, but people like to know how other people get stuff done. So this is one tip.
Write it down. Do it before you go to sleep, or when you wake up or whenever is the right time for you. Be realistic, but write down your days tasks just for that one day. Cross stuff (or delete) once you’ve completed it. Be kind to yourself and even, next to the thing you didn’t get to or complete you could write a word of encouragement to yourself, like, “Don’t worry, you’ll do it tomorrow!” and then really do it tomorrow. Crossing stuff off is incredibly satisfying.
On my pre-list today: some house stuff, email answerings, work out then get to my desk. There, I will not read Chickpea because I’m letting it sit a tad before tackling it again. I will massage a halloween picture book I’ve been fumbling with, then I’ll do some art for the iPad eBook I’m working on  I Hate To Go To Bed! And here is where my focus must come into play.
Yesterday I downloaded the new iBooks Author that Apple released and all I want to do is play with that. I will not allow myself to until I’ve done one more piece of art for I Hate To Go To Bed! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Recent Comments

  • Julie Falatko
    January 20, 2012 - 8:06 am · Reply

    This post came at exactly the right time. Thanks! I know I need to do this. I do listmaking, definitely, but it’s kind of haphazard, and it usually doesn’t include writing goals.

  • Joanna
    January 20, 2012 - 2:54 pm · Reply

    I am convinced EWH has three clones!
    I’m a post-it-list obsessive. I need to work on your reward system, though… I can’t do that, until I’ve done this!

  • Beth Stilborn
    January 20, 2012 - 5:32 pm · Reply

    The amount Emma Walton Hamilton does in a day astonishes me, and leaves me in the dust. I’m so glad to hear you’ve interviewed her, and I can hardly wait to hear the podcast.
    I am trying to train myself to have a stricter “work day” — if I didn’t do all my work on the computer, that would be a lot easier, I must confess. The temptations are too great — “I should really check on the Hub Facebook Group. I might have an important email. I’ll just do a bit of research — oops, what am I doing reading blogs?”
    I’d like to know how Emma does it. I’m not sure I agree with Joanna though. Only THREE clones, J?

  • katie
    January 20, 2012 - 5:40 pm · Reply

    Yeah, well wait till you see tomorrow’s post! You’ll die. You’ll just die. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

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