Focus For Freedom

Some days my focus is all over the map.

I need to respond to 20 emails…

But I’d rather read Facebook profiles for 20 minutes first.

I’ve got to do this blog post…

But I have new exciting Youtube videos that just came up in my subscriptions page.

I must create this new campaign…

But some woman just emailed me back on Ok Cupid. I wonder who that is?

Maybe she's searching for me online!

Working as a solo entrepreneur is wonderful in so many ways, but this whole self-motivation thing can be tough sometimes. Between now and the end of October, my goal is to be more efficient and focused turn my attitude from dreading being organized and focused in work to actually looking forward to focus sessions and organization.

The idea is not to set up all kinds of systems but to do a mental shift.

You see, like most kids, I grew up with lots of structure. I don’t think I went to bed past 10:00 until I was around 17. Ever since I can remember, there were all these things I HAD to do. Clean my room. Make my bed. Get dressed (UGH!). Go to school. Go to swim practice. Nothing much ever felt like a choice (although swimming after school was a choice, at times it felt like a self-created obligation).

So what happened when I went away to college?

Well….my bed didn’t get made. Ever.

My bedtime didn’t exist. I mostly stayed up til around 4 a.m. every night playing video games or doing some other inane activity. Why? Because I could! Freedom! Yeah, until I got an ‘F’ in Macroecomics my first quarter! I forgot to go to class for about…6 weeks, and somehow, that strategy didn’t work!

But this habit of “rebelling” against my structured past became pretty engrained. I somehow managed to make it through college and get a degree, but it was mostly through willpower and burning the midnight oil when I had exams and papers due the next day.

Never did I change my approach very much.

In my jobs after college, I rebelled against any boss that gave me structure. I lost interest in even working a couple times because I had a micromanager boss.

Other times, I had bosses who were more hands-off, laissez faire and let me do my work on my own, with no supervision. In these instances, I was happy to go to work, productive, and thrilled to contribute whatever I could to the company.

So as an entrepreneur, my rebellious spirit can often be beneficial, but can also be detriment.

I’ve been listening to Brett’s podcast series on the School Sucks podcast on Presence and Productivity, and getting motivated by his interview with Jake Desyllas of The Voluntary Life on getting things done, and feel the need to undergo a bit of a transformation in the realm of focus.

Focus leads to more freedom.

These are the things I’m committing to in the next month:

1. Mornings are my best focus time. Usually around 8am-1pm is best. I can write and do other things in the afternoon, but I’m going with working daily between 8-1 (give or take a little since I’m not about to nazi myself into a “have to” schedule).

2. Use the Pomodoro Technique during this time slot. This is basically 4 25-minute sessions of focus with 5 minute breaks in between. Then a 30 minute break and start again. I use this sometimes and it seriously helps. I use online-stopwatch.com for an alarm clock.

3. Finish listening to Brett’s podcast series, take notes and implement the parts of Getting Things Done that work for me.

4. Download Evernote to my phone and computer and start using and learning it. Like 8000 people have said it’s amazing.

5. Create the habit of checking my reminders at 8am daily. (I use iMOnTime).

6. Reserve 2 hours per week just to focus on organization. I’m not sure what the best time for that is. Sunday evening comes to mind.

7. Break down my week into focus days. For example, Monday would be a blogging day, Tuesday is partners/networking/biz dev, Wednesday is podcast day, Thursday is catch up and Friday is article creation for other sites.

Commitment to focus is my new Rebel Yell!