Why You Can't Stay Focused

Why You Can't Stay Focused - steps to organize your work-life clutter

Anyone else feel like Summer is the hardest time to get work done?

Just sitting down to be productive on a beautiful sunny day is tough. Sticking with it and ignoring all of the clutter and distractions takes self-discipline to a whole new level.

Who can stay focused when your work-space typically feels like this... 

The desk:

Every drawer is filled to the brim of forms, supplies and books you might not even use anymore. The really useful things like your planner, a notepad or a working pen are no where to be found. Ink & paper are always low so you end up with manila cardstock and pink-lined images.

The files:

There's always three or four copies of the same file depending on how many edits you made to it. They're all labeled crazy titles like IMG_4659ajtlk4l8z89.jpg because it takes too long to think of what to rename them. You might even have an organized folder system...the problem is that nothing is actually in the correct folder.

Your paperwork:

There's piles of paper clutter to sort through between things that need filed away, cards you don't know what to do with, and random notes you've scribbled (when you couldn't find your planner or a notepad.)

Your inbox:

You find yourself daily swimming in email newsletters you apparently subscribed to, half of which you have no idea where they're from. You go in looking for that one email with the really important information you need and then get sidetracked with sales or other people's requests. 

Your blog:

Is this ever growing mess of drafts, random images, unsorted categories and links that may or may not be working. You try to fix something that's been bugging you, but first you need to update that plug-in, track down a code, or find that image that's suddenly missing. 

On and on it goes. You can't stop what you're doing to sort it all out so then you just keep doing only what needs done in the moment and wasting hours of your life remembering where you put that one thing and what you might have labeled it.

You can't stay focused on what you need to get done because you're constantly sorting through one mess after another. And then you finish the workday totally stressed because you couldn't finish what you needed to get done.

Sound familiar? I'm so over with working like this. I haven't even added in phone calls, texts, social media, and physical interruptions we might face. It's no wonder we feel constantly distracted and unable to focus!

Free 'organize me' chart to help you focus in the workplace.

So how to deal....

I decided to stop the cycle by spending the first 20 minutes of my workday organizing. I creating this handy "Organize Me" Chart to start on the path toward a more focused day. If you're signed up for the mailing list, you received this as part of your Free May Download Pack. You can still download it on the Free Resource page and either use my process or use the blank version to create your own.

Here's the gist of what I'm doing...

Step 1 - Create a plan. What things are keeping you paralyzed and slowing your workflow down everyday. Focus on organizing just one area at a time and decide what you want your end goal to look like?

Step 2 - Assign a place for everything. What categories or groups will you need? What order would you like things to logically be in when it's time to put them away?

Step 3 - Weed out the excess. What is obviously trash, an extra copy or just doesn't belong? Clear it out. One example is to sign up for unroll.me to bulk unsubscribe or roll up the distraction emails.

Step 4 - File away. Once the excess is weeded out you can start the actual grouping and sorting process. You should have a place for most things from step 2 so you can just put like things together and file them away.

Step 5 - Assess the situation. What still doesn't have a place? What issues are you running into? Evaluate how everything works. Does it make the most sense the way you have it set up? Tie up those loose ends.

Nice job! Now the key is maintenance. It does take a little extra time putting things away where they go, but you will save yourself so much headache later. Try to spend 5 days in a row intentionally making this a habit.

xo, Laurie