How to Focus When Everything Demands Your Attention - by Tami Brown for MotherHustle
“There comes a time on the parental entrepreneur course when intentionally switching tasks is the most efficient solution to staying productive when everything must go on.”

Just a little over three years ago I had a newborn baby in NICU, and a husband and daughter at home (my son is now doing great; he graduated from NICU, and now he’s a happy, active little guy). I was juggling a full-time job and working part-time in my business. Oh, and I had a weekly wedding column in a national magazine.

The thought of focusing on one task and leaving the others to chance was not an option—even if I wanted.

What do you do when everything commands your attention?

There’s no denying the futility of multitasking, but there are also diminishing returns on monotasking gone too far.

There comes a time on the parental entrepreneur course when intentionally switching tasks is the most efficient solution to staying productive when everything must go on.

Here’s how I stay focused and get things done:

Prioritize everything.

Understand where your focus needs to be and when. Focus involves some understanding of what is worthy of a distraction. Studies show that it takes 25 minutes to return to a task after we get distracted by it.

Systemize your workflow.

Many business tasks are repetitive. All the tasks—from the prospect’s initial inquiry through contacting, to onboarding—can and should be systemized. Systemized workflows can create consistent customer service, leading to happier customers, repeat business, solid reviews and referrals.

Get started in three simple and easy steps:

  • Step 1: Break down the tasks into sections.
  • Step 2: List every task under the appropriate section header. Consider items like sending out the contract, invoicing, initial meeting, client questionnaire, etc. This step will take the most time, but it’s so worth it.
  • Step 3: Track your new workflow. Create a checklist in Word that you can quickly print out and use when new inquiries come in, or consider an online project management tool like 17Hats.

Take naps.

My son is three years old now and attends school a few days a week. On the days he is home from school, we take afternoon naps. When Caleb goes down, mommy goes down, too. A quick midday nap gives me the boost I need to work at night—while everyone is sleeping.

Grab some coffee.

That morning cup of joe doesn’t just help you wake up, it helps you stay focused, too. And, if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, a midday coffee run should do the trick.

Researchers found a connection between cognition and caffeine. Data shows that caffeine increase physiological arousal, which makes you less likely to be distracted and better able to pay attention to demanding tasks.

Take short breaks.

Instead of letting the distractions take control, lean into them. Schedule in short breaks especially when taking on long task. Unplug for 30 minutes to reenergize the brain and return to your work with increased performance.

Lean on your tribe.

I’m a firm believer in having a super support system. For me, there are three tiers to my supportive tribe.

  1. My partner. My husband is always at the ready to jump in with a compassionate heart and a helpful hand. In fact, I add my husband to meeting requests and calendar dates through Outlook, Microsoft’s email platform. If there’s ever a schedule conflict (think, client meeting runs over, and you have no time for school pick up) my partner is in the know and can fill in for the pinch.
  2. Friends and family. This group keeps me grounded and helps in a pinch—with the business and with my children. Fun family dinners are a nice buffer from all the things on my to-do lists.
  3. Professional groups for mompreneurs. This tribe of strangers that gradually become friends is just as valuable as the familiar tribes. This group gets me and what I go through daily. Some share inspiring stories and tips that help me navigate this entrepreneur journey, and some hold me accountable to my big goals and dreams.

I believe the key to managing it all and maintaining focus is enlisting help. Whether its systems, or coffee, or a spouse, don’t try to wing it on your own. Ask—or download—the help you need to keep your biggest priorities first. Dr. John Trainer, said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

Tami Brown is the founder and owner of Blush Weddings & Events by Tami B, and the founder of The Empress Circle (launching soon), a community for mothers who moonlight as wedding professionals.

She’s a full-time planner, wife, and mom to a toddler son and tween daughter. She obsesses over seasonal coffee drinks and helping wedpreneur moms plan and parent with smarts from the heart. Find her on Instagram, and learn more her Systems to Skyrocket your Wedding Business.


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