I spend a lot of the day at the computer. Between processing and shipping orders, I work on the magazine, comment on the forum and facebook groups, and write articles for other niches that I am involved in. I’m even working on a series of ebooks and a new novel.
Although I have a desktop computer in my office upstairs, I haven’t touched it in years. I use my laptop which is set up in a mini-office corner in my family room. This way, I can work at night while hubby is watching TV and he doesn’t feel deserted.
About a year ago, I developed severe pain in my right leg and lower hip area. After x-rays, an MRI, extensive chiropractic and physical therapy sessions, I finally got relief. The diagnosis had been stenosis of the spine. Sitting at the computer for hours was part of the cause.
Pain that severe is a good learning experience. I bought a better desk chair and now never sit at the computer for more than 1/2 hour at a time now. And the pain hasn’t returned.
Why am I sharing this with you? Many of you say that you are overwhelmed trying to grow your business. I see many in our facebook group, who are facebook junkies, members of as many as a 100 or more groups and constantly posting online. In my pre-stenosis life, I, too was overwhelmed by multitasking on many different things at once. The top of my computer screen would be covered with rows of browser tabs open and the several projects that I was working on at the time.
Pain taught me that there was so much going on, things calling out to me on the computer, that I was jumping from one to the other, doing a bit here and a bit there, while accomplishing less than I should have been able to.
Pain was a good incentive to create a new schedule for myself which includes a little personal reboot. When I first turn on the computer in the morning, I print out all the orders that came in overnight, quickly scan my several email accounts for anything important, and scan the new posts on our gift basket facebook group to see if there is anything that needs immediate attention from me. All other facebook groups and my personal thread are saved until later.
Then I leave the computer, go into my studio and fill any orders that need to be delivered or shipped today. Once that is done, I know that I can spend several hours doing the computer work that is such an important part of my business.
But those several hours are broken up about every half-hour when I walk away from the computer, grab a drink or snack, perhaps put a load of laundry in to wash or do some prep work for dinner or even vacuum the floor. I usually go out for lunch in the middle of the day. My three dogs get attention and even a short walk on days I’m really busy or a longer one on less busy days.
After a break, I then get back to work on the computer. And you know what? I’m far more focused and productive and even my three dogs no longer feel deserted.
If you find yourself doing the same thing for long periods of time or even multi-tasking trying to do dozens of things at once, feeling out-of-focus, take a break. Go for a walk. Brew yourself a cup of tea. Even read a chapter of that novel you’ve been neglecting.
Anything that is different and takes your mind off work for a few minutes can make a big difference in how focused and productive you are. And if your work involves a lot of sitting, that break may even save you from the pain that I experienced as a result of it.
Give it a try the next time you feel your focus fading as overwhelm descends on you. And let me know the results in the comments below.