Resolution #2: Stay Focused

Stay Focused 2013

While this resolution seems quite broad – and in that, the most difficult to tackle in only a year’s time – it’s a ridiculously important one for someone like me who loves being distracted and is often overcome with anxiety from the amount of projects I decide to take on. Staying focused is also imperative this year if I’m going to finish this never-ending doctorate I’ve been pacing around for the past few years, as I’m in my last year of coursework and it’s getting much harder to suck it up and just work. That said, I need a plan, and a good one at that – and perhaps you do, too, if you want to keep an eye on your prize all year long (and not just the first three weeks like many resolution lifespans). Here’s three new exercises I’m quite fond of that will hopefully detoxify all those distractors (*cough* pinterest *cough*) from an ever-stressful regime. . . .

(1) INVEST IN A CALENDAR

via In or Out Media on Etsy, $22

via In or Out Media on Etsy, $22

No, not that stupid iPhone calendar that sends you notifications that are easily silenced and ignored and then wind up screwing up your whole schedule. While the multitasking iPhone or iPad is a great electronic resource, nothing – and I mean, nothing – beats a nice piece of planner paper that you can scratch on and make your own, that stares at you everyday and blatantly screams in your face, “get your shit together!” That’s why I am a huge fan of wall calendars – you can’t ignore them, especially when they are hanging in every room. The options are pretty endless (Design Sponge just had an AMAZING spread on wall calendars that is a MUST see!), and because there are so many, one in every room is not a bad idea (for someone like me with an attention span of .0001 seconds). My favorite is actually in our kitchen by In or Out Media on Etsy (the BEST place for finding paper goods!). At only $22, it’s absolutely worth it to always stay attuned to what the full year has to say as opposed to just the week or the month. Planning, good. iPhone, bad.

(2) EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST

via Skinnytaste, Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper & Zucchini Frittata

via Skinnytaste, Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper & Zucchini Frittata

Say whaaat?! Yeah, you heard me right – eating a good breakfast can kick start any day when there are 209834938497 things to do and only 24 hours to do them all in. Why? Because (a) when you plan on eating breakfast, you plan on doing something within a certain timeframe; ergo, you’re mind is preset to plan – and (b) your feeding your brain, which is about to go into super crunch-mode the second you hit the books. It needs fuuuuuel! Fuel it. Fuel it with Skinnytaste recipes like the one I’ve posted above – super easy (and trust me, I’m not a cook!), you can prepare it the night before, and it’ll last all week long. Not only are you saving time, your saving yourself from fatigue, which often happens as soon as 10AM rolls around and your stomach is in knots and all you want to do is watch Netflix on your phone. EAT BREAKFAST! And if your not into cooking, invest in some Greek yogurt (my favorite is from Green Mountain Creamery) and a bag of granola (best are from Sprouts) next time your grocery shopping. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’ll put you to work!

(3) WORK OFFLINE

via Shevon/Nacho on Etsy, $15

via Shevon/Nacho on Etsy, $15

“But Meghan, you’re working online right now – totally counterproductive, Ms. Know-it-all…”

Okay, yes, you’ve got me there. I am the QUEEN of online working/writing/twittering/blogging/emailing/fact-checking, but it is seriously – no, seriously – imperative for me to take breaks from staring at the computer screen and refocusing on something more tangible and adjustable – like wielding a pencil and a pad of paper, as old folks did way back in the day. Try shutting the computer down, putting your phone on silent, pushing aside the ipad at least once every hour and see what great ideas can come from not having the option to Pinterest or Facebook creep. For that little slice of time, keep a notebook on your desk – yes, a notebook, not a pad of paper (although those work just fine too). I accentuate the importance of a notebook because then you have a stellar think-tank just sitting by all the time, all in the same place, not scattered across your messy desk. Specifically, I’m drooling over the Shevon/Nacho paper pack above, but notebooks are everywhere (love me some from Anthropologie and Paper Source and these notebooks by Anatarlatana are also amazing), so have some fun checking out your options – but not too much fun like I usually have because then you’ll never get anything done…

Here’s to staying focused today (and being patient tomorrow). . . .

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