Five ways to focus

paperpilesOne way freelancers make it at the end of each month is by knowing their billable time reaches the desired goal. But when tech distractions pile up, it becomes difficult to focus on what you’re doing. And Monday turns to Friday while you’re still plugging away at an assignment that shouldn’t take five days. For many of us, that wasted time turns into lost revenue.

The 3/18/2012 New York Times has an article on how to get organized when technology overwhelms. The five key points might help you get a grip on your next freelance assignment, or get your writing done faster, giving you a better hourly rate of return.

1. Capture everything everything that has your attention. In other words, make a list of everything you’re trying to do.

2. Clarify what each item means to you and decide what results you want and what actions are required.

3. Organize a to-do list and reminders for those tasks.

4. Review and reflect on your commitments.

5. Finally, and you knew this was coming, “deploy your attention and resources” …. which means get to work! The goal is to get a grip on where you should focus, gain control, and get results.

If you’re a fan of the “Getting Things Done” (GTD) system created by David Allen, it won’t surprise you that he wrote the Times article, listing the five ways to optimize your focus. He makes a living helping people prioritize and get organized to reach goals. Not a bad plan. Learn more about GTD here.

BIO: Helen Gallagher joined to share her thoughts on small business and technology. Her blogs and books are accessible through She is a member of ASJA, Small Publishers Artists & Writers Network, and several great Chicago-area writing groups.