My new favorite fruit

Some days I really struggle with being self employed. Everything is a distraction, time is NOT on my side and I feel like I get nothing on my To Do list accomplished. Usually, those days, my desk looks like this:

messydesk.jpg

Yuck, right?

What the heck am I trying to get done anyways? Bills, business planning, payroll, social media, some building improvement, all while the baby is napping (please, please take a nap!).

Clear desk, clear mind

This becomes my mantra.

cleandesk.jpg

Isn't that better?

Clear desk, clear mind

I've found over the years, that if I really want to tackle my To Dos, and more than that, move my business forward, I need to clear the work-space "clutter" and focus on one task at a time. Even if it means (gasp) piling papers, or shoving things in a big fat TO DO folder.

I especially need space on my virtual desktop.

So this means:

  • closing all unnecessary tabs (all 64 of them - yes, I am one of those people)
  • logging out of email (it can wait)
  • shutting off Facebook
  • putting my iPhone away, or at least turning it over so I'm not distracted by texts or phone calls even when on silent mode

Well, mostly away.

There's one really slick App I use regularly when I need to hone in and focus on a task and just GET. IT. DONE.

And that's the Tomato Timer.

Based on the Pomodoro Technique which:

is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. - Wikipedia

And it's my new favorite fruit.

In each "Pomodoro" you put in 25 minutes of concentrated work, followed by a reward of 5 minutes (or longer if you need it) to break.

Wait, did you say reward?

Payroll in 25 minutes? Sure thing as long as I get my 5 minutes of Facebook time.

Meeting agenda notes for next week? Oh yeah baby, because after that I get to check my email. Whoo hoo!

Blog post? (yes, I am currently using a Pomodoro to tackle this post--so far I've got 12 minutes left...). Heck yeah! I'm gonna fold some laundry!

I know, cheap thrills around here.

But, I'm a firm believer you gotta find whatever it takes to motivate and keep the "mountain moving forward" in order to feel some sort of satisfaction completing tasks, meeting goals, not to mention paying the bills and your employees.

You have to focus. Clear desk, clear mind.

And maybe, every once and a while, I cut myself some slack and throw in some chocolate WHILE checking my email. Ha, or better yet, a glass of wine. Because life is too short not to reward yourself for a job well done.

Especially a job well done in just 25 minutes.

char_winechocolate.jpg

What are your favorite ways for motivating to get a job done?

How do you keep track, or is that not important?

I'd love to hear from you -- leave your comments below!