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Overwhelm, struggling to make progress, constantly getting side-tracked…

Are these familiar to you? If you are a lone worker, solopreneur, starting out on a new venture, or juggling a day job and a side-line, the odds are this probably resonates with you.

I know that I have struggled with this over the years. You make plans, create lists, set time aside and wham it’s the end of the day… What happened there then? Never mind, tomorrow we will get it sorted. Or worse you decide to work late and push through!

Don’t be so hard on yourself, it is a common problem.  I see this so often and whilst the scenarios may be slightly different the similarities are striking. So what is the solution? How do you get over this?

I have tried a number of different things over the years and all work at times and to different degrees. The five that I really like are:

  1. Time blocking. This is where you block out a specified amount of time and don’t go beyond this.  Stop when you have reached the allotted time and do something else. Forced time pressure does help, it keeps the focus and enables your brain to know that when this time is up you can get on with the other things that are bubbling away. Park that to-do list for the moment and just focus – 100% of your attention. No email alerts and phone on silent, or better still in another room!
  • Plan and reward. Take some time, ideally at the start of the day, and work out exactly what needs to be done. Consider what challenges you may encounter and what solution, or tactics, are required to manage these. Then, the most import thing is to decide what you will do as a reward when this is complete. This is really important. We all like rewards and it is essential that you keep your promise and enjoy the reward when the task is done. If you don’t your inner conscience will not trust you next time. You know what that looks like… when an adult promises a child, the younger you, a friend or sibling, something really special and you go all out to achieve the required result and that trusted adult has either forgotten, got too busy to follow through or just didn’t think it was important…. Gutted!
  • Change you work environment. I love this one. Go out to a different environment and just do what you set out to do. Sometimes a change in the external environment enables the internal mindset environment to completely change. Fabulous! And if it is a great coffee shop, you can enjoy a brew too! Sometimes you need a quiet space, try the local library or church. Sometimes it needs to be at a desk and others just sitting on a bench outside is perfect.
  • Work with a buddy. This can be a physical meet-up or a virtual check in every couple of hours. State your intentions for the time together, decide on the next check-in time and get on with it. There is a real sense of pressure as the next check-in draws nearer. You become sublimely focused and the outputs really come together. Share what you have achieved. Perhaps video each other doing a mini-presentation. Discuss the problems you encountered and find a way forward to help speed progress to the next check in.
  • Find a coach. Sometimes we need that person who does this professionally to help get things back on track. They will not do the work for you but, if they are good, they will help you prioritise, identify potential stumbling blocks, and find strategies to overcome your own inner fears, self-limiting beliefs and to better manage your stress levels. They help you plot your course and guide you through your own emotional ups and downs.

Which ones have you tried? How did they work?

Don’t give up, keep moving forward. Each apparent set-back is actually a prime learning point. Did you notice? What did you learn? What can you do differently?

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If you would like to explore how personal coaching might work for you, contact me and let’s have a chat. It costs nothing, just 20 minutes of your time, to have a chat and explore possibilities. It is just your commitment to helping yourself, to wanting to do things differently, to deciding that now is the time to make a change. Are you an action taker? Do it now!

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