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8 Tips That Help You Avoid Distractions & Get The Job Done!

With all of the things calling for your attention on the homestead, it’s all too easy to get distracted and procrastinate and never give certain jobs the attention they deserve.  Whatever those jobs are, they really do need to get done. Sometimes that need is to ensure success of your crop or the health of your animals; other times that need is for your own sanity. Let’s face it; it feels good to check a job off of the list!

Here are some ideas that might make it easier to get the job done:

Set A Timer

Setting a timer is a method I have used with my children, and I have adopted it for myself to encourage me to work faster. One way to do it is to set the timer for a set time and then do as much as you can in that amount of time. You choose how much time to put on the clock. I tend to prefer a fifteen-to-twenty minute increment, then take a break, then set the timer again and see how much I can get done in that amount of time.  This tactic often shows me that it really doesn’t take as long to get the job done as I had previously thought. This gives me a little more perspective on the issue, and I don’t tend to procrastinate so much the next time it needs done.

Add Music

Music (whatever your favorite radio station might be) can be a welcome addition to a mundane chore.  It can help take your mind off of what you are doing, stimulate your brain, and, if you pick a tune with a beat, give you some background music to move around to and make the job more fun. Who cares who’s looking? You’re getting your work done and having fun doing it!  And you might even entertain the chickens for a change!

Do It With A Friend

Odds are, your friend or neighbor has a job or two they don’t look forward to doing, and they might appreciate some help. Or, you might just have a friend who is willing to help you out for free. Whether you barter your time and assistance or not, having a friend on site when you are doing your work can really make the work go faster and more pleasantly than if you are doing the work on your own.  You can learn from each other or just have a good old-fashioned chat (which is often hard to come by these days with people living so independently of each other). If you are doing your job with a friend and have your music playing to get you moving, you get bonus points.

Get An Accountability Partner

In some situations, friends and neighbors aren’t able to help each other out and the work still needs to be done. Enter the accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone you can trust to hold you to your word and give you a hard time if you don’t follow through with what you say you will do.  So, you might not want to pick your friend who won’t really care if you mucked out the hog pen and will give you lots of excuses to not do it and take you out for ice cream anyway. You need someone more hard nosed if you want to get your job done.

Once you have chosen your accountability partner, tell them what you plan to get done and a deadline by which you hope to have it done. Have them contact you to check in on your progress, or make sure you report to them until the job is complete. Chances are, if you know someone will be checking in on you, you will get the job finished sooner.

Reward Yourself

A reward, carefully chosen by you, may help you to keep your focus in getting the job done. Pick something simple and realistic for the smaller tasks. For larger tasks, still keep a realistic reward, but feel free to choose a bigger reward if you can afford it. One task that I reward myself for is mowing the grass on our homestead. This job isn’t too bad in the cooler months, but in the hotter months it can be quite a chore. We have enough grass to mow each week to keep me on the riding mower for a full day if I chose to do it that way. If the rider breaks down, you might imagine how long it might take with a push mower. My reward is simple: a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea or a specific brand of soda (we generally reserve soda for treats and don’t drink it on a regular basis). On a sweltering day, this really hits the spot when I come in for a break, and it gives me something to look forward to once I am out mowing again.

Invite Someone Over

One thing that never fails to work, though it adds more stress to my life, is to invite someone over.  This can work for general house cleaning or for specific areas outside.  Make sure your invitation somehow involves the area that needs attention.  For whatever reason, no matter who is coming over, I want to be sure everything is looking good when they come over. So, if you need a bit of a kick in the pants to give you some incentive to get the job done, invite someone over!  If you are like me, you will go into a frenzy to make everything look good.

Lock Yourself Out Of The House

Funny as this may seem, sometimes it’s good to put a physical barrier or distance between you and whatever draws you away from what needs to be done. You might need to make that thing inaccessible for a time so that you can focus on your task. For some, the inside of the house and all its comforts is keeping them inside and away from the work outside. You don’t have to literally lock yourself out, but closing everything up as if you were leaving for the day might be a reminder to yourself of how much that work out there needs to be done when you go to walk back inside.  Make sure you know where your key is if you lock yourself out, or you will have a new job on your hands!

Whatever your issue, if your creature comforts aren’t readily accessible, you won’t have as much to distract you from what you need to do.

Change It Up

If the above tactics don’t work, perhaps it is time to rethink how you are doing things. Perhaps it is time to change the time of day that you do certain chores.  Or perhaps it is time to look at alternative ways of achieving the same results with a different method.  For instance, if you have a huge weed problem in the garden, perhaps you should try mulching with clean straw or grass clippings between rows so that there will be less area for weeds to grow. Or maybe it’s not the act of weeding that you hate: it’s the working in the heat of the day. In this case, try weeding in the early morning or in the evening, rather than in the middle of the day. The point is, try doing the job in different ways and see if you can find a solution that works better for you.

What’s on your list that needs to be done today?

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