How to Unplug, Ignore + Find Focus as a Mom + Boss
“I’m much more focused in my work day, and I can focus on my daughter in the evening. And that has turned into an explosion of growth in my business.”

I often say, “My focus has no focus.” I also joke that I have adult-onset attention deficit disorder. I don’t say these things to be snarky; I actually mean them.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s, before the internet and social media (thank goodness). When I wanted to play with my friends, I’d walk the few blocks to their houses and knock on the door. Today, kids text and IM and tweet to communicate with their friends.

When I was growing up, we had about 8 channels to choose from on TV. Today, there’s Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Video and hundreds upon hundreds of channels to choose from on cable and dish networks.

And let’s not forget about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Voxer, Slack, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, Vine and all the other social media platforms that suck away our time without us even realizing it.

(Okay, maybe we realize it but we don’t do much about it.)

There are so many interruptions in life today that I find it really difficult to focus on the task at hand, whether that’s work or family time or just “me” time.

Some of the interruptions are unavoidable, but so many of them are.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a slight addiction to social media. I joined Facebook in 2008 and was immediately obsessed with acquiring as many “friends” as I could. (And “friends” is in quotation marks for a reason. They weren’t really my friends.)

What I learned is that I’m really good at obsessing about other people’s problems to the point that it consumes my life. As someone who now works and networks online and on social media, it’s a distraction that I don’t really need. Like, at all. It’s so hard to get away, isn’t it?!

Since I own my own business, email is also a big distraction for me.

I used to check my email incessantly, hoping that some prospect would accept my project or a client would pay that invoice already.

Constant distractions aren’t healthy, especially when you’re trying to spend time with your child. You know, so she knows that she’s the most important thing in your life (instead of your phone).

In order to take charge of the distractions and get more focus in my day-to-day life, I’ve done a few things:

  • I took Facebook off my cell phone. In order to check Facebook when away from my computer, I have to log in on my browser. It’s a pain in the rear to do this, so I’m discouraged from checking Facebook when I’m not at my computer.
  • I use Cold Turkey, a Chrome extension, to block Facebook on my computer during focused work times.
  • I only check Instagram stories when I’m pacing around my living room. Yes, for real. It gets me out of my office chair and prevents me from randomly checking my phone when I should be focused on client work.
  • I no longer get email notifications on my phone. This has saved me from checking email repeatedly (and then forgetting to respond to emails once I get back to my computer).
  • I no longer get any notifications on my phone, except text messages.
  • My phone is set to Do Not Disturb from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. The only time I turn it off is when my daughter is at a friend’s house. (And don’t worry. I’ve set a few select people to be able to bypass this in case of emergency.)
  • I regularly turn my phone to Do Not Disturb during work hours. I don’t answer the phone if I don’t know who is calling.
  • I don’t answer my front door during work hours. Well, most of the time.

So what has all this unplugging and ignoring done for me?

I’m much more focused in my work day and I can focus on my daughter in the evening. And that has turned into an explosion of growth in my business. I also feel much more connected to my 15-year-old daughter, who if I’m not careful will turn into a true recluse teenager.

I think it’s time for us all to put more “focus” in our focus–getting away from the distractions of, especially, social media, and being more present in our everyday lives.

MotherHustle panelist Abby Herman is a content strategist and content coach for small business owners, helping to get her clients’ written message out to their audience, in their own voice and on their own terms. She specializes in working with female-owned, service-based businesses to generate ideas and strategies that help to move their businesses forward with content that attracts the perfect clients. Abby firmly believes in the power of educating and empowering business owners so they can grow their businesses without breaking the bank. Community over competition is truly her jam!

When she’s not crafting words or coaching her clients through their own writing roadblocks, you can find her exploring the mountains near her home in Phoenix or finding new ways to get her teenaged daughter to take a break from the school books and technology. You can follow her on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.


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