- Reflect. Take a moment in the silence of the morning to ask yourself, 'what did I accomplish toward my goals so far yesterday or last week?' 'what is the status of my current project?' 'what do I need to do today because of that?'
- Pause and be present. No, I'm not being woo-woo. It's true. If your day begins in chaos, it's likely to stay that way. Instead, take a deep breath, be in the moment (even if you have a dozen text messages) and decide to handle one thing at a time. This gives you the power over your day rather than the other way around.
- Get comfortable. Make sure everything you need is present before sitting down to focus...do you have your coffee or tea? Is your work space properly lighted? Is your chair at the right level? If not, these things can end up being a diversion as you go along.
- Organize your work area. Clutter can distract you and ultimately sabotage you as you go along. Before you start, make sure your area is clean and free of items that will annoy you later in the day.
- Stretch, stand, walk. Before you sit down for a day at your desk, get the blood circulating through your veins. Not only will this give you more energy, it will give you a greater sense of control before you tackle your waiting projects.
- Review the to-do list and prioritize. It might feel great to think you can do everything on that list, but it's important to make a hierarchy of "must do's" verses "want to do's". Be realistic. Nothing is more self-defeating than setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. It's important to do the high priority items first--no matter what you may think. Your energy and motivation is usually strongest when you first begin the day so why waste it on the tedious stuff you can do later?
- Visualize success. By thinking from the end, you can work backward to determine the necessary steps to reach your goal. This helps you stick to the plan at hand when you're already visualizing the end result. A mental play-by-play can also help you foresee potential challenges and enable you to make adjustments.
- Adjust and map your day. It's important to know if there is any preparation needed before a client phone call or a meeting so you're not blindsided. Thinking ahead and being prepared will make everything go much more smoothly.
- Do not multitask. Sure, we all like to think we can do three things at once, but more often than not quality is sacrificed and we can start to feel overwhelmed. If you've done all the steps to this point, there is no need to feel like you need to "do it all." Focus!
- Anticipate distractions. With a home office, especially, this is crucial. I still have teenagers coming in and out of the house and I want to know their schedule so I'm not taken by surprise while on a client phone call. Do you have a conference call at a certain time? Set an alarm on your computer or phone twenty minutes prior so you can finish up one thing and be fully present for the other. It's important that you know what may come up--even low-priority distractions like social media notifications--so you can be one step ahead.
Amber Lea Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is a professional editor and mother of two extraordinary human beings. She currently lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com. To discover more about her publishing services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com.