I’m having difficulty staying focused lately. While I have no problem making very detailed To-Do lists, I’m lacking the time management to actually tackle it. Maybe that’s one of the flaw with planners. We aspire to be, at least on paper, productive beings and I can easily fill a page with things I should get done. But the list has gotten away from me this recent year, where I’ve gotten very good at detailing very ambitious tasks – as many as ten or so tasks to get done a day. What person in their right mind would think that would be a good idea?
I know for a fact that certain tasks will only take a few minutes to complete. So on my list it goes, yet I keep adding to it: meal plan for the week, research ___ (insert a country for vacation potential), sweep up the bunny pen, dust surfaces, etc. Pretty soon, half my page is filled with things I intend to do and it becomes an overwhelming feeling to an already busy day.
When we think of regaining our focus, it’s usually associated with honing in our productivity. While I agree with that, it’s only part of my effort. I want to refocus to get my personal time back. Self-care has been such a priority in the last few years, mostly because I was moving house so much and I craved some sort of stability. Self-care helped me to relief anxiety and ensured I was making time to do things I enjoy. As I am more settled now, I try to make time to go hiking and work out to clear my mind. Being in nature always helps to reset my mind and soul. And I remind myself that certain chores can wait another day. Unless there is a hard deadline, I don’t have to do everything immediately. Taking a couple hours to enjoy something I love, like the outdoors is far more important to my health than unfolded laundry.
In my aspiration to manage my time better, I’ve narrowed my struggle down to trying to staying away from social media. It’s so hard! I love Instagram and I am on there all the time to check in on friends, see updates from my favorite bloggers and get inspiration when I’m feeling stuck. But without realizing it, I’ve suddenly let twenty minutes go by just scrolling through photos. Multiply this by checking IG several times a day, well, you get the picture. Anything involving my phone – checking Facebook or emails – sucks up a lot of time and I am easily distracted with interesting articles and news updates.
To get around this need to check my phone, I’ve taken to turning it screen down on a table, so I avoid seeing update notifications or text messages. I also do this at night so the light doesn’t interrupt my sleep. And I’ve also gotten into the habit of negotiating with myself. An example would be that I allow myself to check my phone once I’ve finished so many tasks on my to-do list and then allow myself to only scroll for just a few minutes instead of lingering. I try for music for background noise while I do things, instead of a TV show or movie, where I’ll find myself stopping to watch a scene or two. Youtube has also become a huge occupant of my time, which I am still working on. I may try only adding videos I truly enjoy watching to my watch-later list, instead of every video a creator posts.
It’s a start. I’m sure there are a lot more tips I can practice and if you have any to offer, I would be obliged if you commented on this post with them. But I’ve started to accept that if I don’t finish a task, it’s not the end of the world. I can always do it the next day…or the day after that. But I’m hoping that practice makes perfect, where I can not only become more productive in my time management, but also make time for what matters.