Have you ever sat down to work on a creative project, only to find, two hours later, that you worked the whole time and somehow still got nothing done?
It’s a frustrating experience and unfortunately a familiar one for many creatives.
Why does this happen? We plan to work on something, feel motivated, and make time for it. What is worse, we actually FEEL like we do work on the project. So why aren’t we making the progress we want to make?
Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your motivation. It’s not about your mindset, even. It’s not an issue with your time management. More often than not, your low output is about your strategy.
We work shallow when we should be working deep.
Creative output, in particular requires space and focus, and yet we apply the half-aware approach that we would use for rote, assembly-line like tasks. You don’t just need to want to do something and make time for it. You need to pay attention to how you are working.
Here are three things you can do today to deepen your focus.
1) Choose only one task to focus on at a time.
Say you need to build a landing page. Well, there is a lot involved in that. There is the design of the page, the fonts, the images, the copy. And there are all the associated tasks with the landing page. The outbound links. The inbound links. Market research on the target audience. It sounded like one task, but it’s actually many tasks that lead to one final product. So choose an aspect of this project, and start there. Finish that, and then move on to the next. If you have a desire to task switch, do it mindfully. Otherwise, you’ll end up toggling between all the aspects of what you are working on, without really getting anywhere in any part of it.
2) Keep your workspace uncluttered and energizing.
An energizing workspace will help you stay concentrated on the creative task in front of you. For me, there are few things as distracting as a cluttered workspace. Also think about the lighting in your space, keeping the temperature in the room not too warm or chilly, and – this one is a bit more subjective – the way your space makes you feel. I go over how to do this in more detail on my blog about creating a space that lights you up.
3) Set aside a tiger hour.
The brilliant entrepreneur Amy Porterfield came up with the concept of the tiger time – an hour when no one can reach you, because you are fiercely focused on the task in front of you. That means: no instagram, no texting, no emails, no phone calls, etc. You are unreachable for that hour. Turning the phone off altogether or on Do Not Disturb/Airplane Mode helps a LOT with this.
This step sounds simple enough, but it’s the hardest one to implement.
It’s also the biggest culprit for shallow, distracted work. We can easily get sucked down a social media rabbit hole while “taking a quick break” or google something to death in the name of “research.”
In fact, this third one is so tricky, I dedicated a free one hour video training to it.
If you want to go deep on how to be insanely productive and focused, and 10x your creative output in a single hour, I have an easy to implement 5-step strategy for you that will help you completely transform the way you work.
If you have tried to get work done but often feel like you are spinning your wheels, then trust me, there is a way to get WAY more done with more focus and less mental resistance. Sign up today for instant access. The workshop is jam-packed with actionable steps you can take to uplevel your output and get into a state of flow with your work. I can’t wait to see you there.