5 Productive Things to Do When You’re Unfocused
Sometimes I have laser-like focus. With task at hand I plow through and get the work done, barely taking time to drink water and breathe. This was the case in preparing my 30 Day Self-Care Challenge in 2015. From concept to fleshed-out plan took less than a week. But not all my endeavors are like that. Actually, most aren’t.
There are days when I show up at my desk and stare blankly at the screen. This in spite of the fact that I have taken time the night before to contemplate what one thing I plan to focus on for the day. Some days, it just doesn’t click.
So what is an entrepreneur to do? Sit around and eat bon-bons while catching up on Game of Thrones and Outlander? Tempting, but I recently sat down and put together a list of 5 things to do when I’m feeling unfocused but want to be productive. Consider making your own list (and feel free to use my list as a starting point!).
Productivity even when unfocused:
1. Delete email
Zero inbox? Me neither. Not even close. So set the timer for 5, 10, or 15 minutes (or whatever time you want) and start deleting and filing. I try not to get caught into reading old emails. If I run into a bunch that I want to read (often from signing up for some list), then I make a folder and stick them in it. I do take the time to unsubscribe from those that I no longer have an interest in or have turned out to not be what I thought they’d be. Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe – besides lessening your inbox load, you are doing the sender a great service. Your not opening their email hinders their open rate. If you haven’t opened a single email from them in the last month or so, unsubscribe.
2. Read articles saved to reading list
Facebook has this really great feature where you can save an article link that someone posts. In the upper right hand corner of the post is a light grey downward pointing arrow. If you click it a menu appears and “save link” is an option (but only if the post contains a link to an article). Click that and the article is saved to a list. How to access the list? When logged into Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/saved and your list will be there.
When I find interesting articles via Twitter (often accessed from my iPhone), I save them to Safari’s Reading List.
3. Sort favorited pins on Pinterest
I favorite way too many pins, and always with the intention that I’ll go back later to see if I really want to commit to pinning it. Sometimes I’m not sure to what board I want to pin it; sometimes I don’t have time to follow the link to the original website to see if the information is really what I’m looking for. Sometimes I’m just lazy. But taking a few minutes to pin (and then unlike) a Pinterest pin is a good thing. Ideally I’ll get down to under 20 likes (I’m at
491 494 746 – I couldn’t help myself – as of the writing revision of this post).
4. Sort photos
Whether on my phone or computer – a few minutes of time can be well spent cleaning up “bad” (blurry, useless, dark) photos. Good bye duplicates. Good time to sort and tag as needed too. Certainly makes searching for that Pre-K graduation photo (to compare to the 8th grade graduation nine years later) a whole lot easier! Well, it would have.
If you’re not a Mac user, sort your photos in whatever program organizes them. You can take this task old school and sort through the shoebox of photos too!
5. Tag my Evernote notes
I don’t utilize this feature nearly enough. I’m still trying to master organizing in Evernote, and I really like how Michael Hyatt approaches this with tags. So besides tagging my notes, I guess I could use unfocused time to figure out an organization hierarchy as well!
Not familiar with Evernote? Then take some time to check it out. I have it installed on all my devices (it synchs across them all and with the cloud version), and I just learned how to clip web articles to it. The basic version is free (which is what I use).
So there you have my list of 5 things to do when your feeling a bit unfocused. Just remember to set a time limit. I find that I often get inspired by something (series of pins, interesting article, etc.) that sends my mind spinning and my creative juices flowing. Next thing you know – I’ve written a new blog post!
What things might you add or tweak to the list?