What are you doing right now? Where is your mind at? At this moment, how happy are you? These three questions were asked by Killingsworth & Gilbert and reported in a 2010 edition of Science. They learned that “47% of the time, the average American adult is NOT paying attention to what they are doing.” They also learned that when we pay attention, we are also happier.

Firsthand Distraction

I experienced some of this distraction this week. I am helping with my brother’s care now, and I’m thankful he felt good enough to ride with me to do some farm errands. He is a cattle farmer and cutting hay for their winter food stock is the main activity in the summer.

This week, we picked up cutting blades for the mower and got home to discover the man in the parts department gave us the wrong quantity of parts. We paid for the correct number, but he gave us too many right blades and too few left blades.

So here we went back to John Deere. We also needed oil for the equipment. They boxed it up, we paid, and got home again to discover it was not what we had asked for. Were these employees distracted? There’s a 47% chance that they were.

Tried and True Tips

As I mentioned last week, I am so thankful that my team is running my business so I can run these errands and help my brother out. It also concerns me, however, that this is the level of distraction society has reached, and I feel strongly that it must be addressed. While there are tons of articles and books and tricks out there to keep you focused, I have a few simple things that are tried and true that I want to share with you as well.

The Daily List

The first step is to make a to-do list for the day and empty your mind, then put it in a drawer. Just the act of clearing your brain of all these things will allow it to focus better on what’s important. Now, write down the top 3 things you want to get done today. Put a big star by the top priority. Stick that task on your calendar in an open spot when you know you’ll be able to concentrate. Then add the other two tasks into your planner also.

Look at that top priority and think about any concerns you may have about it. Are you worried that you need more information or that you don’t know where to start? Then go back to where you wrote your top 3 priorities, and write down your concerns, or limiting beliefs.

Then turn on your creative brain and think about how you can reframe those concerns into something you can manage. Write down that idea as well.

Finally, consider how your energy is going to be used to tackle the work. Thinking about your thoughts allows you to approach the problem with the mindset that you decide on, not the mindset from old patterns of behavior that may not serve you.

Here’s an example of my list:

Journal the Junk  

In addition to making your daily list, I find journalling about anything on my mind to be beneficial, which I talked more about in a previous blog. I started out journaling for 5 minutes every day, and now write for up to an hour or more every morning.  

This time allows me to clear my head, find my focus. Often, I come up with creative ideas or solutions to problems. My writing time allows me to tap into creativity throughout the day and spend more time executing without being distracted.  

Center Your Mind and Body 

After journalling, I take time to be still and meditate which I have also blogged about. Sometimes I spend 10 minutes, sometimes 45, but after, I am ready to get centered and focused so I can move calmly in the world. This awareness of my thoughts and training my mind to return to the present serves me as I go through my day.  

Purposeful Plans 

My final two tips involve Purpose and Planning. To get clear about your purpose, take some time to tap into what fulfills you, what brings you joy and how you ensure that you can include that in your days and weeks. We’ll work deeper into this process in the coming weeks, but knowing your purpose, you can more easily plan your day.  

It allows you filter out activities that don’t align and it becomes easier to say “no”. Then look at the week ahead and plan the tasks day by day. Be realistic based on what is going on in your personal and business life. It does you no good to over schedule.  

That just means you are breaking promises to yourself. It’s not a good way to build your confidence. Keep your planning realistic, and you set yourself up to easily create daily plans.  

As you can see, being focused is a system, a way of training your mind to create the environment and discipline to think without distraction. I see so much benefit from working this way and I can attest personally that it improves my happiness also. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process and what you might do instead or that’s similar. Reach out and let me know! 

About the author 

Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi is a mom and author of Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers and Motherhood, Apple Pie, and all that Happy Horseshit. She is also a speaker and thought leader in areas of ecommerce accounting and Mom Entrepreneurship. Cyndi is the founder of bookskeep which provides accounting and Profit First advisory services to hundreds of ecommerce businesses around the world. When not helping business owners or her team, Cyndi can be found in her garden.

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