I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve had a difficult time staying focused.
When you’re working from home for yourself, it can be easy to get off track. There’s nobody looking over your shoulder making sure you get your work done. And even what work you decide to tackle is usually subjective.
If you’re working on an active project for a paying client, it’s relatively easy to decide what to do. But so much of your time isn’t spent this way. It’s one of the reasons you left the corporate world in the first place.
A byproduct of not staying focused and one of the biggest non-productive time consumers for me is starting but not finishing projects.
Here are a few examples:
Half-written posts. I have multiple folders with many half-written posts. This has been ongoing since I started this site. I get an idea and just start writing. Typically, I only get a few paragraphs in before I realize that I need to do research on a specific aspect of the article. And as I’m researching the issue, I get drawn into other interesting topics. Next thing, I’ve spent hours and don’t have anything substantive to share.
eBook formatting. This is an extension of the half-written posts. I start writing an ebook and somehow allow myself to get pulled into working on the formatting rather than the content. It’s much easier to play with formatting than to write quality text. But it really makes no sense to spend any effort on the format on the front end.
Website technical projects. I am easily drawn into making small tweaks and modifications to the site. I find a new plugin that I want to try. Or I decide my site needs a new page. As an example, I know Financial Slacker needs a better Archive page. I really hate everything I’ve tried so far. And in fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that I don’t even have a link to the Archive page at the moment. I could easily spend days and days creating a new Archive page but that is not a productive use of time.
This problem of staying focused and starting but not finishing projects has become even more pronounced now that I’m posting everyday. And it gets magnified the more I get involved with other side businesses. For instance, I need to spend some time writing articles for the Slacker Health site but I have two other sites that I’ve been working on instead.
The key for me getting more focused and back on track is setting up more structure. When I’m productive is when I plan out my day in specific blocks of time. It’s when I fail to plan, that I find myself drifting between projects but never completing anything.
Starting tomorrow, I’m regaining my focused approach and getting myself back on a structured daily calendar. Until then, maybe I’ll take out one of those half-written posts and finish it. I’ll feel that sense of accomplishment and I’ll have something ready to post in the morning.