I took some time off in April to be with my son Jake for his Spring Break.

I had some crazy notion that I’d be able to carve out some time during the week to get some work done. I even created my weekly to-do list {admittedly a bit smaller than usual } and started the week with some pretty big ambitions – I’m going to spend some time with Jake doing Spring Breaky things AND get all this work stuff done on my list so I’m not so far behind when he heads back to school.

By about Wednesday, I got a break when Jake spent the night at a friend’s house and I picked him up around 4pm the next day. But the rest of the week was more like a blur.

We have the great fortunate of living in the Orlando area so I gave up on my foolish dreams of working and took some time off to play tourist. We hit a few theme parks, stood in the lines, ate junk food and walked around the parks with the thousands of other people visiting our city.

And in between Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios, we spent a couple of days at home recovering from all those lines, crappy food and spending way too much time with thousands of people.

{ More power to you folks who come to our city and spend 5 days hitting every theme park, standing in line in for hours and dealing with constant tango of our muggy heat and thunderstorms. I don’t see how you do it! }

 

The Goldilocks Flow

After a week like that, I knew I had some serious catching up to do to get myself back on track.

My to-do list for the week overflowed. There were client projects I had put off doing, my social sites needed updating and then there was the update of the training videos for my Pinterest coaching program: The Pinterest Traffic Builder.

I worried I’d be overwhelmed. I worried that I’d look at my list and get confused about where to start.

I worried that I’d be multi-tasking and not get much of anything done.

But when I sat down the Monday morning after my time off, all my worries disappeared. Within an hour of my laptop humming, I got into what they call the Goldilocks Flow of the work zone.

It was not too hard. It was not too easy. I was working without any frustration. It was just right.

I got into that work zone this week.

I fell deep into the work I love and totally lost track of time doing it. And I felt energized when I came out on the other end. I crossed off so much on my list every day, it just empowered me to keep going.

 

 

The True Secret to Productivity

How does this stuff work? How do you get into the flow and get more done?

Before you work through any of these steps, just know that getting into the zone is NOT for working on any new activities. This isn’t the time for learning a new accounting program or how to use Twitter.

Being in the zone only works when it’s something you’re not thinking about how you’re doing the work. You’re just doing it.

  • Remove all interruptions – shut off your notifications, close out your email, log off social media
  • Find the right environment – it’s not just about finding where the best place to work but how you work. When I get into the zone, it’s not just about being in my office at a certain time of day. I get in the zone when I listen to music – and not just any kind of music. There are 6 different artists that I listen to who will put me in the zone. And when I’m feeling really productive, I can go through the entire playlist of each of these bands but I can’t tell you one song I heard during the time I worked.
  • Focus on one thing and one thing only – this is not the time for multi-tasking. Stay with that task until it’s done. Since you’re in uninterrupted mode, you’ll get the most out of your work for longer periods of time.
  • Have clear goals of what you what you want to get done – when you finish that one task, know which project is next on your list.
  • Create a system to track your progress – whether it’s a checklist or completing this chapter, stay on top of where you and what you need to get done.
  • Be patient with the process – getting into the flow doesn’t happen just because you turn on the music. It usually builds gradually over time. Going into this knowing that you’ll need to focus for at least 30 minutes before the flow kicks in.

 

Getting into the Zone

Getting into the zone has everything to do with this one simple thing: your motivation to work on the things that you care about the most.

I get that. I totally get that.

I look forward to Monday morning and turning on my computer. I work on the weekends and my free time at night. It’s not that I really have that much to do – it’s that I enjoy doing the work that needs to get done.

I like to work. There, I said it.

I realize as solopreneurs we’re supposed to be striving for that balance in our lives. Don’t work too much, you’ll burn yourself out.

And don’t spend too much time off or you won’t get all the things you need to do to keep growing your business. What kind of business are you running if you’re not at your laptop every day for at least 8 hours a day?

Somehow, we’re supposed to find this elusive balance in our life. { good luck with that one! }

While I totally understand the benefits of taking a break, I truly enjoy working and getting deep into my next project. I love watching the numbers of people signing up for the Create Your Business box and getting emails from people asking me questions about my coaching programs.

And just being honest here – there’s usually a few days during the week when I work an extra hour or more when Jake comes home from school. I make sure he does his homework and then go upstairs to my office.

I’m sure he could use some downtime after being in school and I don’t want to sit there while he’s watching YouTube videos, thinking about all the things I need to do.

I get a few more things crossed off my list for the day and he gets a little time to himself. Feels like a win for both us.

And isn’t it better to be there with Jake when I’m, you know, there?

 

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