So, who has been sticking to their resolution to be more organized and stay on task? I know that, for me, it is a constant struggle just to stay on task long enough to organize a drawer. I tend to be all over the place when I start a task and can easily get sidetracked. I will be unloading the dishwasher and all of a sudden I find myself down the rabbit hole of Instagram. Anyone else? No? Just me? My family calls it “the butterfly syndrome” and I am pretty sure I have heard that from others, too. The “butterfly” or “squirrel” syndrome simply refers to the fact that someone easily gets distracted from what they are doing. I am trying to get better at staying on task. In my search, I have found 5 techniques to help you stay on task.
5 ways to stay on task:
1 Use the Pomodoro Technique
Ever heard of it? I never have until I started to look for ways to help me stay on task. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method. In this technique, you use a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named Pomodoros-a pomodoro is the italian word for tomato. Frank Cirillo, who developed the method in the 1980s, named it after the timer that he used, which was in the shape of a tomato!
There are six steps in the technique:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task for the full 25 minutes.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four rounds, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
2. Use essential oils/diffuser
I love to use essential oils in our home. I use them for application and also in a diffuser. Oils have so many health benefits and are useful for so many different things. I use a book that tells me which oils are good for which ailment. I just look up the problem and…there’s an oil for that! But for focus and staying on task, there are certain oils that are really good for that.
- Motivate (from Doterra)
- In-Tune (from Doterra)
You can apply these onto your body, but I like to diffuse them so that the whole house can benefit. Sometimes I will combine some of them together.
3. There are so many apps to help you stay on track. They have some designed specifically for kids, too. I know my kids benefit from things like this. Here are some of the best apps I have found: 30/30, Alarmed, Atracker -Time Tracker, Freedom – Reduce Distractions.
- 30/30 is very simple and allows you to set how much time you give a task, like reading and responding to emails, and alerts you when it is time to move on to the next task.
- Alarmed works with Siri to create reminders and put them into this app so that you have tasks and reminders in one place and it will alert you. Caution: It has a “snooze” option so this may not work for someone who frequently needs “just 5 more minutes”.
- Atracker – Time Tracker allows you to set up times for tasks and creates reports (think pie charts) for you to look at to see what you are really allocating your time to. Giving yourself an hour for Pinterest and 10 minutes for dishes will show up here….do we really want a visual? Actually, yes!!! It may give us pause and rethink how we are actually spending our time.
- Freedom- Reduce Distractions is perfect for those of us who just don’t have a strong will against distractions. It gives you the ability to block content in apps, websites and email. You can also have it turn on every day at a certain time to stop you from being distracted. Hmmmm….curious.
4. Accountability Partner.
Try it! Call a friend and tell them what it is that you are doing. Have a closet that you are cleaning out? Call your friend and tell them what you are GOING to (not try to) achieve and let that be the challenge. When you take the mindset of try, you leave it open ended. You are giving yourself an “out”. If you say you are “going to” do something, you’re now mentally tied in and it makes it a little harder not to complete what you have set out to accomplish.
5. The Reward System
“If I, then I”. I use this all the time. It’s a great excuse to get a pedicure, LOL! If I have a large goal, I will give myself a deadline and work really hard to hit it. Then I will reward myself by doing something I don’t do very often. Maybe get a new pair of shoes I have had my eye on or “X” amount to spend at my favorite store. It’s amazing how motivating that is!
Every person is so different. My mom is motivated simply because she loves being a task master and just the finished product is enough for her. Me? I didn’t get that gene. So, I have to use other methods of motivation. I have found that for me, on everyday tasks, I like to use a timer. I like to beat the timer and “win”. It used to work with the kids when they were little. I would challenge them to see who could make their bed faster. That no longer works…they’re onto me.
I hope that, if you also suffer from the “butterfly syndrome”, you find these tips helpful and apply them to start achieving your goals and completing your tasks! If you have a different method that works for you, I would love for you to share that with all of us!! Here’s to happy tasking!!