Last month was a nightmare. It started great, though. We were just about to buy the house we were living in, and the holidays were just about the corner. After this weird year, all I could think of was going to the beach, enjoying the sun, and having nice dinners without the usual rush. But it wasn’t going to be that easy… Three months ago, our landlord had given us the choice to either purchase the house – our home – or move out. This would be the second time in a row that we had to move out for the same reasons, and it isn’t good news, I tell ya!

We’d been living in the same house for 3 years, so we thought that buying would be a good choice. If we wanted to change places in the future, we could sell or rent, but at least nobody could throw us out so easily again. At least not with such short notice!

After going through the whole process of applying for a mortgage and getting really good rates, we thought it would be easy peasy. Oh, my, were we wrong!! Due to an error from our bank, we had to push the purchase closing date twice. There was a document missing, and there seemed to be no way to get it on time.

My husband and I were dealing with paperwork, banks, lawyers, and so much other stuff I didn’t even know that existed. On top of that, my children were on summer break, so I thought it would be a good idea to extend their day camp. What were they going to do at home the whole day with both parents trying to figure out how not to get kicked out, right? Just the thought of telling the children that we might have to move out was killing me!

Anyway, during the plus week at day camp, my oldest caught coronavirus! Say, what?! After one schoolyear surrounded by so many children, she gets the virus because of one summer-camp week she wasn’t supposed to be in?! She’s fine now, and she even loved staying in her bedroom binge-watching Netflix, so I won’t go into further detail, but having to isolate her, keeping everything disinfected, and trying to keep the rest of the family COVID free was a-w-f-u-l.

Anyway, do you think I could get ANY work done?? Yes, I could!! Waaaaay less than I had planned to, but I did get the most important stuff done! Do you want to know my secret? Keeping a cold mind to purge everything that wasn’t 100% urgent. A VERY cold mind. Let me explain ☺️

Keeping focus without time

How to keep focus at work when your world feels like falling apart

  1. I learned how to focus on the most urgent issue. I couldn’t think of everything that was going on at the same time – That would have made me insane! So, one step after another. No multitasking AT ALL!! I needed a focused brain!
  2. Each night, I’d write down a list with everything that was urgent. Urgent. Every other thing that I’d have typically done had to wait.
  3. Each of those other tasks that I postponed had to be done after the holidays, so I wrote them down in Asana – my lifesaver!!
    • I always work with Asana, but this time I wouldn’t write just something generic like “schedule social media posts.” That would have been too vague for my already too full-packed brain at the time. I needed to trust my Asana to-do list when I came back from my holidays (if I ever got to go on holiday).
    • Also, I didn’t want to have anything hovering over my mind. So I would write something like “schedule pin with this picture and this text” or “check this link,” and everything had to be SO clear that anyone would understand it. I wrote my tasks as if I were giving instructions to a coworker – me!
  4. Every time any other issue popped up, I’d focus on that. I’d literally forget about the rest (I did have everything written down, so I felt confident about forgetting everything for a couple of hours).
  5. Then, I would review my to-do list for the day.

So, that would be the planning phase, but WHEN did I actually get work done?

  • I was aware of my kids being at home in the afternoon, so I didn’t schedule any work for those hours. I knew I wasn’t able to get it done, so why even try?
  • There was ONLY ONE task to get done per day. If there was time for more, awesome, but I didn’t want to get any more stressed than needed (spoiler: There was never “more time”).
  • The tasks weren’t big. They weren’t even small. They were TINY. Tiny little steps to get done in half an hour max!
  • When all house-related stuff was cared for on my part, AND my kids were watching a film or – even better – sleeping, I would go to my home office. There, I would open up my Asana list and follow the steps I had written down for myself without questioning whether there was anything better to do. That was the next step to get done. Full stop!
Keeping focus when overwhelmed

Is it hard? Yes. Would it be easier to let go? Yes. Do you ever feel like giving up? Probably!! When everything seems to be falling apart, the first thing we tend to do is forgetting about those projects that make us especially happy. They don’t seem to be important anymore.

But you know what? It is especially in those moments that you need to give it all and stick to your goals.

So if you think you have no time to stay focused on your goals, here’s a recap of the suggestions above, and keep a cold mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Recap – 8 Steps to Stay Focused When You Seem to Have No Time

  • Stay calm. Breathe. You need to keep a cold mind. So, even though it might seem impossible and not relevant, take time to go out for a walk.
  • Write down a to-do list.
  • Focus on the most urgent issues.
  • Set one goal for the day.
  • Break down in tiny steps any tasks you are going to tackle.
  • Write down any tasks you aren’t going to be able to tackle. Add so many details as possible.
  • If you have children, don’t try to work if you know it won’t make any sense. Use your spare time with them to unplug.
  • Sit down and work only when you know that you have at least 30 uninterrupted minutes.

If you have any other tips to stay focused on your goals when there seems to be no time, feel free to do so and leave a comment below! 👇🏼

Born to Freelance
xoxo - Born to Freelance
Alicia RG
Keeping focus when overwhelmed

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