One of the things that I’m hearing a lot of people are struggling with at the moment, is feeling unsettled and unfocused. There may no longer be a full-on sense of anxiety but an inability to feel grounded still persists. I can relate!
Life is different and we don’t know how it’s going to pan out and yet life goes on. Even with a chronic illness, where life hasn’t changed too much for me, I’ve still felt unsettled.
Up until recently, my main strategy has been to just go with the flow. I’ve been just drifting along. But a part of me has known that having something to focus on can help. I made lists but struggled to apply myself to them, instead I retreated into the comforting distraction of my kindle. I followed my impulses to do things when I felt like it, and accepted my low productivity. I got things done like that, but not a huge amount.
That approach did me a lot of good health-wise. Being relaxed, resting a lot and only doing what I felt like was great for my physical well-being. I was quite comfortable drifting because I gave myself permission to. Totally taking the pressure off myself led to my energy increasing, but I still felt a little unsettled.
Last week, with my improved energy, I suddenly decided I wanted my focus back. I realised that one of the problems with my lists was that they were too general. I’d look at a whole task and just think ‘I can’t be bothered’. Instead, I took some time to break down each thing on my list into microtasks. I created a list of things I like to achieve each week to keep my business ticking over, all broken down into small chunks which could be achieved in 10-20 minutes.
For example, instead of having ‘blog’ on my list, I’ve broken it down to 8 microtasks:
- Draft blog
- Edit blog
- Upload to website
- Find image and create pin for blog
- Post blog
- Share blog to my social media
- Share blog with chronic illness bloggers
- Share blog to FB groups
It worked wonderfully.
Instead of looking at a whole task and feeling unmotivated I asked myself which of my microtasks I could easily get done today. I then found that once I’d started and got a sense of satisfaction from completing that microtask, I suddenly wanted to do more. It felt great to be focused again and I had my most productive week in months.
Tip: Break each of your to do list items into microtasks of 10-20-minute chunks
My tip this week, is when you feel ready, and only when the time feels right for you to find a little more focus, (there are no ‘should’s here), try breaking each of your to do list items into microtasks; something small enough to do easily even if you’re feeling restless and unfocused. Then, each day take a look at the list and ask yourself which small thing could you achieve today with little effort; something that would suit how you feel today. Do that one small thing and promise yourself to let yourself drift the rest of the day if that’s what you still feel like doing. It’s likely that you won’t. When I’d done one small thing, I thought ‘that wasn’t too bad, what else could I do?’ and then when I saw the ticks accumulating on my list I felt better and better about being productive. It also kept my focus away from the strangeness of life at the moment.
Remember always be kind to yourself, it’s OK to be unfocused and drift for a while. But if that feels uncomfortable and you’d like to find a little more focus, try breaking things you’d like to achieve into microtasks and challenge yourself each day to just do one of them.
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