Do you feel like you NEVER get your tasks and chores done in a day? Are you overwhelmed by your life and to-do list. I have good news!
I just turned 50 (go ahead and let that Sally O’Malley skit run in your head) and I finally have learned how to get everything done in a day that I want to get done. How? I think there are two tools that help me more than anything. So grab your coffee or tea and let’s dig in deep.
What are the two things that you need to do in order to reach your goals for 2020, in order to become the future self that you want to become? Focus and failure.
Why we can’t focus
We live in a literal sea of distractions. If you want to be distracted, distractions are everywhere, and even if you don’t want to be distracted, and even if you’re trying your best not to be distracted, you have to work really hard to not be distracted. One of the concepts that really helps me with focus is time blocking or time batching, batching the items you have to accomplish together or blocking your time in order to get it done!
With learning how to really focus, part of the beauty of focusing is that you get into the focus zone,and everything goes faster. It takes less time.
It takes me a while to get set up. When I am prepping for recording or LIVE videos there is alot to set up: lights, video, regular camera set up, there’s a lot happening! But, when I set it all up, I want to be sure I am filming several videos. I don’t want to do my set up, complete one video, break down and do it all again tomorrow.
No, while I’ve got it all set up and ready, I want to do it all at one time, to really help with productivity. Are you blocking or batching your items together? I do the same with phone calls and internet messages and meal prepping.
Do time blocking so that when you’re in the mode of that particular task, you’re in the mode and you’re doing it and you can do it faster and faster. This will definitely sky rocket your productivity if you can teach yourself to do it.
The beauty of it is that when I’m home in the afternoons with my family, it’s family time and house time. I love to focus and really be present there as well. How can I really, really enjoy being with them? If I’m not trying to do my work from earlier.
When it’s family block—that specific block of time where I’m with my family, that’s what I really want to focus on. I’m thinking about my house and how it could be organized better and what could I speed clean really quickly. Or what food I’m making. Or playing Go FISH with my 7 year old.
Batching your things together, blocking your time, really will help you focus.
A lot of times if you’re going to randomly do one thing that takes a significant amount of concentration and focus, it’s hard to get into the mode of doing that. It always takes me a while to warm up. If I’m doing some serious writing, then it takes me a little while to get warmed up. I don’t want to do that for 10 minutes and then move on to something else. So I want to stay in the zone.
If I’m not careful, I will get so easily distracted. I love all the rabbit holes. I am such a squirrel at heart and I love shiny things. I can get sucked down every rabbit hole. So if I just say to myself, “For this two hours, this is what I’m doing.” then I am more apt to accomplish what I set out to do.
In the mornings, I have a block of time from 5:00 to 7:00 AM. I am kicking it from 5:00 to 7:00 AM y’all! I’m getting so much work done. Part of the reason why I’m getting so much work done is because it’s quiet and nobody else is up.
The second reason is because I’m focused on similar tasks, so I’m doing some writing, creating posts, planning my time & day. I feel like that two hours is golden for me. It’s so golden.
When that two hours is up, it’s Thomas time and we get in the mode of getting up and out for school and ready for errands, you’ve got to be able to switch gears and when that happens, I’m all in for that particular gear!one.
It’s all about really giving your whole heart and your whole time and attention to the task you are actually focused on.
When it’s after school and it’s family and dinner time, I love that. I love making food and I love family time. But focusing on really being present there, not trying to write an email when I’m making dinner. Listen, chicken thighs need your full attention y’all. And I’m not perfect at it, but I really work to do one thing at a time well
I feel like it allows me to work faster and be more productive, not so that I can be a workaholic, but so that when it’s 3:30 and I need to change gears, I can.
This process of batch working and blocking time is not so that I can just keep working all day, NO, it’s so that I don’t, so that I have time for all the different things that bring me more creativity. It’s so I can sit down and knit or sit down and read a book and I don’t feel guilty because I worked like crazy during those three hours that batched and blocked time.
This is really one of my TOP secrets to accomplishing what I want to accomplish with my life, to really getting the most done in the shortest amount of time. It’s magical. Focus is key.
Being willing to fail
The second thing that I think is key to creating the life you want is being willing to fail.
And I hate to say it like this, but this is almost how I think about it, you all, I look at some of the big things that I want to accomplish this year and it scares me, I’m not going to lie, kind of scares me.
One of them is to run a half marathon. I have a torn ACL. Running half marathon feels scary. Why would I say that in public that that’s one of my goals? Because it gives me some accountability and because if I don’t do it, I know that I can trust myself with that failure. I know that I’m not going to make it mean something crazy or I’m a terrible person or that I can’t trust myself.
One of the keys to getting what you really want in your life is to be willing to feel the negative feelings that come with failure.
Failure just means you get to feel icky for a little while, like, “I said, I was going to do that and I didn’t. And so it’s just an icky feeling. Being willing to trust yourself with an icky feeling will allow you to have amazing things and do amazing things in your life because you’re willing to fail.
So when I fail at something, I don’t make it mean that I’m a terrible person. It just means I was willing to put myself out there, that I was willing to try something that didn’t work, that I was willing to be out of my comfort zone. Yay me.
The willingness to fail is so huge because so many times we don’t try things that we want to do because we’ve failed before. No, it’s probably not going to work out the first time you try it, or the second or the third. But the 12th time is magic! Are you willing to try something 12 or 20 times? Are you willing to fail to succeed?
Just being willing, almost anticipating the failure as a way to know that you’re doing something.
Here’s one way that I have been able to re-frame this in my own life. So as you know, if you’re on my email list, I send emails on Tuesday. So before I did all this mindset work about failure, I was always a little bit scared to send emails. You know why? Because people unsubscribe. And as soon as I would send an email, so I do all this writing, all this work, make myself vulnerable and tell a story, and finally press send on the email. And in the first 20 emails that I get back are people unsubscribing. They’re like, “No, not going to read that. No, don’t care about that.”
I used to allow it to get in my head because sometimes the email would be something really personal, maybe about Thomas or about my marriage or about one of my kids or whatever. I would take it so personal. I would make it mean something about me.
WHAT I DO NOW is that I write the email and I say, “I hope at least 20 or 30 people unsubscribe because first of all, they’re probably not my people.
Secondly, it means I’m writing emails, because you know what I used to do? Not write emails. That was my answer. I don’t want to get unsubscribes, so my answer is to not write emails.
Guess who gets helped when I shut up and don’t do what I’m supposed to do with my life? Zero people. But guess what happens when I put myself out there? People leave or reject or criticize and I have to learn to be okay with that, to welcome it, even.
Expect it, it’s good because it means you’re doing it. If I don’t do my work, nobody criticizes my work. When I do my work, people criticize and people unsubscribe. That is fine.
Are you willing to re-frame what that failure means? The failure means you’re doing it. It means you’re doing it!
So can you really teach yourself how to focus?
Can you create these sacred little time batches or time blocks that allow you to do what you really want to do with your life?
Can you, once you start doing what you want to do with your life and what you’re called to do with your life, can you re-frame what it means when you fail or when people don’t like it or when you feel rejection or when you feel like all of that work for nothing?
Here’s my answer: I will send that email to you with so much love, with all my heart. I will pour myself into it. I will send it with love. I will give you something that I think will help you. I will offer you something that I think might be good for you. And if a bunch of people don’t like it, I will know that I’ve done my job.
I want you to re-frame what failure means. It will look different for you, but I want you to re-frame it and I want you to really do those two things this year, this month, this week, even today, focus and failure.
- Can you create pockets of focus?
- Can you re-frame what it means when you fail?
If you can do those two things, it’s going to be a good year. I’m so excited, so excited about what is possible for all of us when we are willing to focus and fail.
Here’s my video on this topic!
What have YOU focused on or FAILED at recently?!