Get Your Focus Back

Apr 25, 2021
The Virtual Assistant Connection: Get Your Focus Back

Virtual assistants always have lots of balls in the air. That’s just the nature of the work.

The downside of so much activity, however, is that sometimes we fall into a habit of doing what’s in front of us instead of thinking through the best next step on our ever-growing to do list.

When that happens, it’s important to know what to do to get back on track (hint: the answer is not always to just work more or harder or faster). Sometimes you just need to get organized and get that 10,000-foot view back in focus. 

Thankfully, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that when this happens to me, there are three things to get back on track:

  1. Clear the space. When I’m resetting my work mode, the first thing I do is take every single thing off my desk, from Kleenex boxes and knick-knacks, to each scrap of paper. I then clean the surface of my desk (extra credit).

    Now it’s time to put back your “stuff” (but no papers yet, please). Remember that every single thing on your desk is taking up some of your attention, whether you realize it or not, so be really picky about what lives within your immediate view. 

    Your desk top is a place to be creative, solve problems and make money. Make sure there’s enough visual space to do that.
  2. Organize the work. Despite the conventional wisdom that says to handle each paper just once, I begin by sorting my huge pile into chunks according to blow-up-ability (i.e., the likelihood that something terrible will happen if I don’t take care of it). 

    I do my sorting on a table, not my desk, and here are some of my categories: Red Hot (if I don’t take care of it in the next couple of days I’m in big trouble); Want To Keep But No Action Required (there’s no blow-up-ability possible); Client Work that is sorted by project, and sorted again according to the status of the project. GREAT!
  3. Create room. The final step, and perhaps the hardest, is to dedicate blocks of time for work and schedule them into your calendar. No email, no phone calls, just you and the work. Tell the people around you that, “Unless it’s on fire, I don’t need to know for the next X hours.” 

    If you’ve tried all of this and still find it difficult to stay focused, choose one project to work on. Take only what you need and, if necessary, move to another location void of all distractions. When I do this, it feels like I can get an entire day’s work done in two hours. 

    I can hear the chorus from here, “I don’t have time to clean my office! I can’t leave my phone or email for hours at a time! I’m running a business here!”

    I’m here to tell you that if you can’t leave your phone or take the time to get yourself organized, you’re not running your company – your company is running you!

I guarantee that if you stop reacting to everything that’s coming at you and take some time to organize your office, your projects, your thoughts, and your time, you’ll get more done more easily than you ever thought possible.



If you’re not already a member of our Facebook Group, The Virtual Assistant Connection, and would like to join, here’s the link: