One thing the Lord has really been challenging me to do is to stay more focused on the things that matter and on the things that make me a better version of myself. Now, more than ever, there are so many things that steal our focus. It’s either entertainment platforms, social apps, relationships, non-goals, and the list goes on. Although most of these focus stealers are not bad thing, they just start stepping over that line that we should draw between distractions and being productive. As humans, I believe we desire to be productive. We have something that stirs us to always get better and conquer all things that we set out to do. When we do conquer, it changes our mindset. We feel better about ourselves and we get overrun with joy knowing we have added to society. On the contrary, when we lose focus and don’t accomplish what we set out to conquer, we feel disappointed. Disappointment and not following through are not God’s will. Why? We serve a God that always finishes what He starts. Jesus was so focused on the task at hand (THE CROSS), that the beatings, insults, crown of thorns, and abandonment did not waver Him. It did not affect Him because He knew the importance of the task at hand and He felt the weight of this great opportunity.
This is the challenge to us right now… Do you understand the task that has been given to you to accomplish and conquer? Do you really feel your importance right now? If the answer is yes, then what are you doing to stay focused on seeing it through? Jesus was ready for His task at hand because of the preparation He made beforehand. What preparation do you need to make right now to help you accomplish all your goals? I want to help those of you from Maryville, Tennessee, in Blount County to everybody across the globe!
I found this article that I believe will help us in 2020 to stay more focused this year. It is found on the website entrepreneurshandbook.co, and is written by Ron Rule. The title is 7 Tricks to Stay Focused and Protect Your Time in 2020. I want to show you the 7 tricks.
1. Turn off notifications on your phone.
I made this the very first entry because it’s had the greatest impact for me personally. You have to be in control of your time and anything that has the ability to take your focus away from what you chose to work on interferes with that. You don’t need to know the second you get an email, or a Facebook message, or when someone retweets you. Anyone who has the ability to send you an instant message has the ability to control your time. By turning off notifications, you decide when you’re going to check messages and when to respond to them.
2. Get a Google Voice number for business use and don’t give out your real phone number.
You have a different email for business use, so why don’t you have a different phone number? Set up Google Voice to get a second phone number that works with your existing phone so you can receive calls, make calls, and send/receive text messages. Inbound calls will seamlessly forward to your regular phone, and text messages can be sent/received using the Google Voice app. The big benefit for me, aside from having a separate phone number for business use, is that you can set schedules when and how calls are forwarded. I have mine set to ignore calls after 7 PM. If you try to call me, you’ll go straight to voicemail without even ringing my phone. This lets me control what hours I’m willing to receive business calls and isolates business text messages into a separate app, while still being accessible to friends and family any time via my “real” number. Head to google.com/voice and create a phone number to get started.
3. Leave work at the office.
This was one of the hardest things for me to get used to, especially during the years I worked from home. Entrepreneurs are sort of conditioned to “hustle” and work 24/7, but honestly, that’s really bad advice. The more you blur the lines between work mode and non-work mode, the harder it is to remain in charge of your time. Set work hours and stick to them. When your workday is over, don’t take any more calls and don’t respond to emails. Pick up where you left off the next day. If your associates and customers are used to being able to reach you 24/7, set up auto-responders that will start training them to work with you within your set hours. You’ll discover that your workday is more productive when you’re focused on a block of hours, then take a break from it.
4. Engage in phone-free activities.
Be honest, when was the last time you turned your phone off? Disabling notifications is only half the battle — the other half is how to manage having the world’s collective sum of knowledge available at your fingertips to satisfy any fleeting curiosity. I’ve started to leave my phone at home when I’m out and about, or I leave it in the car when I go hiking or off roading with my son. Humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years without smartphones. It’s good to disconnect.
5. Take real vacations, not “working from a different place.”
Eighteen years ago, I took my laptop on my honeymoon. That was stupid. Human beings need time to unplug. Work is what we do so we can afford to enjoy the rest of the time. When work becomes “the rest of the time,” you’re doing it wrong.
6. Stop Multitasking. Create to-do lists for the day.
I maintain an active list in a Google doc and start each day with a list of the things that need to get done. What I usually do is organize tasks based on completion time, putting the tasks that take the least amount of time at the top of the list. Focus on one thing at a time. It’s easy to bust out a bunch of 5-minute tasks first thing in the morning, which frees up the rest of your day for the things that take longer. When you’re able to cross a bunch of things off the list, you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing more and will be energized to take on the bigger ones. This is one of those areas where mindset really makes a huge impact. If you start with the big stuff, you’ll end up pushing things back and feel like you accomplished very little when the day is over. Get the small stuff out of the way early and take those quick wins.
7. Use calendars for time blocks and deadlines.
Most people use calendars for meetings and appointments. I use them for blocking off times to work on specific things and for setting deadlines. When you have numerous different things going on, it helps to structure your time into manageable time blocks. If you finish something ahead of schedule, don’t jump into the next task — stay on schedule and enjoy a few moments of free time.
This is a great list that will help all of us to follow through with our goals and will help us be more productive. God wants you to be complete in all things and He proves it in His word in Philippians 1:6 ESV, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Written by: Pastor Jon Killebrew