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OK people, how do you stay focused??

I am a wife and mother of two, (16,10).  I am a solo entrepreneur, i run my business without much help from the family.  the 10yo is the most help.  Hubby runs his own business/ministry and has a full time job, plus is currently remodeling houses on the side.  my 16yo is currently a stay at home student, doing online schooling, and the 10yo plays baseball everyday when it is not snowing or raining.
between running for sports, trying to be involved in my teens life (which is very important) and making sure hubby feels like i DO anything, that when i get free time to work on my business, i just literally sit here.  and do NOTHING.  so nothing gets done, not the business, not the house work, not the taxes - uh oh their due next week - better get busy.
yahoo has this same type of forums now, called yahoo answers, which i do enjoy and it seems to swallow up a lot of my day.  hubby leaves for work at 5, and is home by 1.  i usually go to bed at 1 and am up by 9.  this leaves only 4 hrs before hubby is home, and if i spend any time in YA, before i know it hubby is walking thru the door and i have done nothing!!!
people please, i`m begging you!!  flylady says baby steps and a timer.  what do you have to say to a self admitted procrastinator??
 ContinentalPrintingSupplies2006-4-7 11:54:55


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    NightHawkNightHawk subscriber Posts: 0
    It is very difficult to own and operate a business that you are not comitted to, whether it is home based or not.  If your challenge is comitment, then it will be very difficult to change your behavior.  My advice would be to find a business you love so much you wouldn`t dream of NOT  spending quality time on it every day.  You obviously have a high level of comitment to your family (very important). Only you know if you could have that type of level of comitment to the business.
    If I`m off mark, and you feel comitted but just distracted - then you need to remove the distractions!  When I am in my home office, my family knows that I am "at work".  And, I am only interruped for urgent matters.  My home office is set apart from most of the activity of the house - and I try to stay away from the kitchen and laundry room - because those rooms always seem to be calling my name!  I clean, grocery shop and run errands in the evenings and on the weekends, just as I had done before having a home office. 
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    PamSlimPamSlim subscriber Posts: 2
    Dear Mrs. Continental Printing Supplies:  (for lack of a more familiar name to call you! )
    First of all, good for you for all that you do to keep your kids feeling loved, active and learning.  That is no small feat, and you should feel really good about that.  There is no more important job you could do.
    As for the "procrastination," I tend to agree with my friend Night Hawk above.  I personally don`t believe in the word "procrastination."  Not that I haven`t found myself many times doing something, ANYTHING except for that which I am supposed to be doing.  What I have found about that state is that it is disguising what is really going on, ie:

    You don`t like the work you are doing, therefore you are avoiding it
    You are doing it for someone else, not yourself.  I am sorry, but "making sure hubby feels like i DO anything" would be the most UNmotivating reason I can think of to work.  You are obviously doing a lot at home, and maybe part of the struggle is that you don`t feel valued for the work you are doing.  Therefore you could feel subconsciously resentful, and go "on strike" emotionally until you feel supported.  Just a guess!
    You are doing exactly the right work, but the prospect of success is so frightening that you distract yourself to keep from stepping into your real power.  I know it sounds crazy, but many people actually choke from the fear of success, not failure.
    As for a remedy?  I`d first do some deep internal diving to find what work would really be fulfilling for you.  I am a personal fan of Martha Beck`s book Finding Your Own North Star.   It has great examples and exercises to figure out the work you are meant to do in your life.
    For that work that just must get done to pay bills, I agree with Night Hawk to set up your environment so that it is distraction-free and is a nice place to work.  Make sure you keep it clean and put up pictures and objects that make you smile and keep you motivated.
    Be gentle with yourself and do take baby steps.  You are not crazy!  Just in need of support.  Let us know how you progress.
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    CrystallizationsCrystallizations subscriber Posts: 0
    NightHawk and PamSlim are so on target with their advice, but I`m going to add one more suggestion.  You ask yourself each time you sit at the computer, "Does this activity generate income?"  I can waste more time online than just about anyone.  But after 7 years in business, the only way I`ve been able to generate business is to make sure that I just do it.  I do the income generating activities first, then marketing (which will generate income in the future), then the research on business, participating in forums, emailing friends, etc.  If I keep to that schedule, I`m in good shape. 
    If I find myself doing more and more of the non-income generating activities, I know I`m avoiding something.  That`s when I start asking myself if what I`m doing is what I am meant to do - and if I`m enjoying it.  If I`m not enjoying it, it`s time to find something else.
    Hope this helps.  And good luck!
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    Thank you all so very much for your assistance to my problem.  Yes, I do love my job, and my family.  I can relate to all your comments/concerns.  I have often found myself very willing to actually buckle down to work shortly before hubby comes home.  When he comes home of course, I am then interrupted, and soon after my 10yo comes home and I am interrupted again.  Soon, everyone wants to know when dinner will be on the table, and I start to think, why doesn`t everybody just leave me alone, so I can get the `business work` done for today??
    Pretty soon, I find myself left alone, as they doze off to sleep for the night, and guess what . . . I see myself in front of the TV with a laptop in my lap.
    I very much agree with the idea that I need a place to go, to go to work.  Vincent you hit it right on the head when you said that there are less than active days when it`s easy to get started on house projects.  I never really thought of a coffee shop.  Maybe I can find one real close.  You don`t have to pay rent there, do you??
    Most of my main projects are time consuming, which are the ones that get put off.  IE:  I`m trying to convert my QB Pro program over to MS SBME.  All I really need to do is type.  I`m convinced, however, that with just the right click of a button it should all go where I want it to go.  I could have had it retyped by now, but instead I`m trying to figure out how it should be done in one or two little clicks.  Go figure!!
    Lazy??  Hubby says so, and yeah, maybe a little??  Overwhelmed at the thought of the task??  Definitely!!  So many other little projects that can be done in a flash and so many more creative ones to play with.
    I think I`ll search for a coffee shop within a few miles (very few) and work on getting a `new office`.  Vincent, I think you`re on to something here.  Maybe and `go to work`, get my work DONE and get home early to work on the rest of my life.
    Thanks to all.  Please feel free to keep the suggestions coming in.  I can always use the encouragement!!
    You`re all wonderful!!
     ContinentalPrintingSupplies2006-4-9 12:21:44
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    OfficeSpaceJeffOfficeSpaceJeff subscriber Posts: 0
    Going to a coffee shop to escape from the distractions of your home office may work as a first step, but it is only a stop-gap measure.
    First of all coffee shops have their own distractions - they may be noisy, the management may not want you sitting there all day sipping that 1 cup of coffee for 4 hours and there is a total lack of privacy.
    If you check out the StartUpNation Blog titled - Home-based business owner wins an office! - you will be able to read many of the entries that we received on our recently completed Home Office From Hell contest.  There are millions out there with the same problem.
    Some solutions - rent a small office at an executive suite - these are fully furnished offices with high-speed internet access, telephones, receptionist, secretarial and other administrative services available.  The beauty in this type of solution is that you have almost no up-front costs and you can rent on a very short-term basis - month-to-month, 3 months, 6 months, etc.  Enough time to "test-drive" to see if this is the right solution for you.
    If you`re not ready to make that committment yet, most executive suites offer what`s called - "virtual" office space.  With that you get a prestigious address (e.g. - 100 Park Avenue looks more impressive on your business card than 2 Tulip Lane), live phone answering service (so you don`t have to answer your phone when the baby is up & crying) and if you want, several hours per month of access to a real office &/or conference room for the times that you need peace and quiet to work and think or to meet clients.  Depending on your area of the country and the type of plan that you`re interested in, a virtual office will cost between $50 - 300/month.
    If that is still beyond your budget, you can wait until the Fall when we will run our next Home Office From Hell contest.  Someone again will win a free office for a year and this time we will be offering some other valuable items like free mentoring from small business experts and other goodies that we can`t disclose yet.
    Hope that helps and best of luck.  Just remember you are not alone and your problems are not unique - that`s the beauty of these forums and blogs.
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    PamSlimPamSlim subscriber Posts: 2
    I have one more thought after reading your last post ...
    Some things (such as converting your QB files) seem to be taking a huge amount of time away from other things you may enjoy more and be more motivated to do.  I have been in business almost 10 years and learned a long time ago to outsource tasks that I really didn`t enjoy.  The money I spent has comeback 10-fold since it has freed me up to do what I do best - network with people and do my coaching work.
    I haven`t used the service myself, but many respected friends and colleagues have told me about www.elance.com</A> which matches you up with talented and reasonably priced help in many areas of running your business.
    I could certainly learn to do my taxes by myself and tear my hair out (while eating at least 2 pints of Ben and Jerry`s in the process), but why on earth would I when I can pay my trusty accountant $500 to do them for me?
    Just a suggestion. 
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    Pamslim,  you are so right about outsourcing. . . problem with that is  . . . my 16yo doesn`t want to do it.  the 10yo does, but really prefers baseball.
    At this point in my career, I really can`t afford to pay $500 to have anyone do my taxes.  I love to do them and have training in this field.  They are not done yet, because it is one of those time consuming tasks, that once I start on, I prefer to not to be bothered.
    Jeff, I saw the office from hell contest and felt it wasn`t too much of a way to help.  As I thought more about the idea of a coffee shop I realized there are none close enough to me.  Then there is the thought of procrastination.  This (coffee-shop office) would require getting up, getting dressed and putting my day on hold til I get to the coffee shop.  These are several reasons I like to work from home.  And another, it`s 6:30am, and my 10yo is sleeping next to me, hubby is off at work already (yuk).
    Now, another question for all. . . as I thought more about leaving the house for an office, I realized that I have a fairly large R.V. sitting in my driveway.  I own a cordless phone and have high speed wireless internet access.  If I decide to use this as an office, I risk losing the openness of communication between me and my teenager.  These are many of the benefits of being here, working at home, so to speak.  Currently my mess and unfinished tasks bounce between the dining room table and a pile of paper on my bed, or a crowded computer desk in the living room.  ~~~Questions~~~How do I keep this communication open?  Is it worth relocating at this time in their life??  Do I wait til maybe they are both home for the summer and let them do their chores, while I hide in the RV??  What other options may I be missing??  Suggestions??  Comments??  Complaints??
    Thanks for all your help.  Really loving the suggestions.  And really love having someone other than family to bouce all these questions off of.  (eewwww, bad grammar )
    Thanks again
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    TheQueenOfGreenTheQueenOfGreen subscriber Posts: 0
    Someone mentioned how important it is to write down your goals. I couldn`t agree more. One thing to keep in mind is this: If your "goal" takes more than one step to complete, you are MUCH more likely to put it off. As you write down short- and long-term goals, be sure to break them down into steps that you can accomplish in less than an hour.
    I don`t know about you, but I`m always more encouraged by lots of check marks on a page!
    Also, if your husband isn`t as encouraging as you would like, be sure to collect a number of unconditional supporters - virtual or real. Having a network to offer ideas, cheer you on, and celebrate successes will create the feedback loop you seem to be missing.
    Keep at it!
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    SecondHandRoseSecondHandRose subscriber Posts: 3
    I am only going to share with you what works for me. Plan your day the night before. Make out a list of things to do Today! Make that your goal. Everytime you accomplish a task check it off. Planning and setting goals are very important. Sometimes no matter how old we are speaking for myself is getting back to simple basics If I don`t my life  goes into chaos. Since Oct. 05, 2005 I have been working on my goal and that is my online business. Is it a priorty? Yes. Can I make excuses why I can`t work on my web site, very easily. I could use the excuse of being 100% disabled and I suffer from cronic pain everyday of my life. Or I can remember why I wanted my online business. Then I remember it is not a want it is a need. That is what motivate`s me. Sometimes I use anger which can be a key factor if use positively for self motivation. You will be surprise how much you can accomplish turning negative anger into positive energy. I am proud to say that my online business is open and the best part for me is the feeling of accomplishment. Business is slow, so I try new idea`s and StartUpNewsletter is great for idea`s and learn. If you want something bad enough you will make the time for it and commit your all to it. Or maybe it`s not what you want after all.
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    TheQueenOfGreenTheQueenOfGreen subscriber Posts: 0
    Well said, Mike. If you`re not living your passion, you simply won`t have the drive. I couln`t agree more.
    Sometimes focus, however, is simply a matter of bioliogy. Until I was diagnosed with attention problems, I had no idea why I couldn`t stay on-task like everyone else.
    I guess it all depends on the person!
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    thanks so much everybody for your opinions.  i know i have problems with focusing maily because the tasks at hand are time consuming and when i finally get started on something, i HATE to be interuppted.  i am usually out of bed by 8-8:30 and check my email while sipping my coffee.  IF there is something in there that takes me to a different place on the internet, then i generally get sucked in.  if there is no new e-mail, i usually sit there, kinda waiting for some to wake up.
    that being said, i have spent many hours learning the fly-lady system, and trying to incorporate it into my life.  in certain areas it has worked.  in others, such as `just do it` it hasn`t.  my main dilemma comes from the fact that there is more concentration on the task, (and time) that i am ready to give until every little thing is out of the way.
    by then the family is home and needing their attention.  i guess i just need to know how to block large time frames out of my day and to then concentrate on the task at hand.
    your ideas are wonderful!!  Thanks for all your help!!
    Have a great day!!
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    EKErrandsExpressEKErrandsExpress subscriber Posts: 1
    My suggestion is what I do for a living - hire an errand/concierge service to do the things that you are finding hard to accomplish!  Its hard working, having a family, and having so many roles to fulfill and sometimes no matter how much you plan, the best laid plans never work!  Wouldn`t it be nice to have 2 of you?  Personal Assistant, Errand & Concierge services are popping up all over the US -  I am connected to over 800 of them across the US and they are there to assist you!  Don`t be ashamed or feel guilty that you find it hard to handle everything - its more of a problem than anyone realizes or willing to admit but the trend is US!
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    LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    One of the best ways for me to stay focused, and concentrate on what needs to be accomplished, is giving myself permission to have time when it is NOT required that I be focused on work.  I work very well early in the morning - so, I am usually at my computer working between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.  I often get more done before my "office hours" kick in than I will the rest of the day.  I don`t work well late in the afternoon - I never have - so after 3:30 p.m. I give myself permission to take a nap (20 minutes will recharge my batteries), read a book/magazine, work in my garden, etc.  I don`t work in the evening, I don`t work weekends and - as far as my clients are concerned - I`m not totally focused on work on Fridays as my office is "closed" to clients.  My weekly Thursday morning "koffee klatch" with other business owners is yet another "treat" I allow myself as a reward for getting work done in a timely manner earlier in the week. If I am overwhelmed with work (especially work that should have been done earlier in the week), my "punishment" is not being allowed to take the time for my valued coffee break with friends.  The time I have "scheduled" for work is most often dedicated to work.  I have always needed a break around 10:00 a.m. - so I give myself permission to make an espresso, read the paper, wander around my garden, phone a friend or cruise a few forums online.  I need just about a 20 minute break before I`m set to go again.Years ago I worked almost ALL the time.  What little time that was left over was my fairly pathetic "life."  I was able to be much more focused, and accomplish much more, when I made the adjustments necessary to have my work fit the life I wanted - instead of seeming to live to work.  Like Vincent, I work best without interruptions and distractions.  Some time ago I FINALLY learned that just because a phone rings doesn`t mean I need to drop everything - losing my train of thought or the momentum built up while working on a project - to answer the thing. I tell friends that is why God invented voice mail.  Often, if complete attention is required on a complex project I will shut off the ringer and simply checck messages every couple of hours.   For all the calling person my know, I may be in a meeting, on another call, or away from the office.  That`s also why I don`t have a cell phone.  I had one for three months about ten years ago and it was an annoyance rather that a convenience.  I don`t want - or need - to be THAT connected.  I don`t need my movement through my work day interrupted THAT much.  My business was conducted very successfully for the previous 20 years without a cell phone.  Being able to work from wherever I may be at the time is a also a great benefit - and allows me to maintain the focus needed to complete a given task.  If there`s too much non-work stuff to be done around the house - creating possible distractions - I get out of the house with my PowerBook.Once you determine what REALLY works for you it is much easier to create the daily pattern needed to accomplish your tasks.- J. 
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