Cracking Down

I would prefer to avoid all these things

I set a lot of goals for myself. I plan to work out three days a week, cook more on weeknights, write 2k words a day, learn how to box, learn how to knit, finally master the chocolate souffle.

Statistically speaking, I’m not going to achieve all these goals. I just don’t have enough time or energy.

So when I knock one off my list, it’s a big deal.

Which is why I’ve been so absent lately. I have been slightly single-minded in checking off one of my goals—getting through a big round of edits on one of my projects. Now, I wrote a while back about positive reinforcement to celebrate achieving milestones, but sometimes you don’t have time to celebrate. Sometimes you just need to buckle down and do the work.

(Okay, celebrate later. And celebrate hard)

It’s times like these you just have to set a deadline and stick to it.

Does it suck? Yes, usually it does. Do you get stressed? Always. Does it mean everything else has to come second to getting your work done? Yes.

You set the goal. You set a deadline. And you get it done.

It’s times like these when writing feels like work. You’re not playing and messing around. You’re getting things done. There are no games or shortcuts. Every day matters. Every hour. Every minute.

Which means focus is really important. Hence, I present:

Erica’s Super Focus Cheats:

  • Have A To-Do List—I am a super fan of lists. There are literally no cons to making a list (if you don’t trust me, try making a pro and con list about lists). It’s a good way of keeping track of what you need to do, and nothing feels better than crossing something out when you’re done. So even if your list is only one bullet point, write it down. And then, cross it off.
  • Have A Soundtrack—It’s an integral part of every training montage in any movie. Rocky had one. Harry Potter had one. Mulan had one. Hell, Kung Fu Panda had one. So why shouldn’t you?
  • Ignore The Internet—I love you, internet. But I love you a bit too much. You give me serious FOMO. But if I’m ever going to get anything done, I’m going to have to quit you. If you’re lucky, you can just quit your browser and not be tempted to check Twitter or Buzzfeed. But if you’re anything like me, you need a hardcore app like Freedom to lock you out of the internet.
  • Have Snacks Close At Hand—I am a snacker. I love munching on something while I work. What can I say, I get hungry. And hangry. So having a bowl of nuts or a bag of cookies or a smoothie at hand keeps me from getting up every few minutes for food. Your snacks are your call, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. Just make sure whatever it is makes you happy and focused.
  • Achieve Optimal Comfort—It’s science: if you’re uncomfortable, you’re not going to be able to focus. You’ll be too distracted by how uncomfortable you are. So make sure you’re at optimal ease. For me, that means a couch, a cat, and some good back support. Maybe you prefer working at a desk, or on a treadmill. Or a treadmill desk, the unholy offspring of both. Whatever it is, find your work zone and rock it. You do you.
  • Keep Your Game Face On—No matter what happens, keep your eyes on the prize. Just remember what you’re trying to achieve, and don’t get distracted by the obstacles that pop up along the way. Just keep moving forward, and you’ll get there.

Hell. Yeah.

What goals are you trying to achieve, and how are you getting them done?

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