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Time Management and the Squirrel Effect

05/25/22 | Dana LaRieal Morales

Have you ever been working on one thing and while in the process you got completely distracted by something else? This is a common issue that professionals whether self-employed or not experience it.  It's called the squirrel effect.  In this episode, we discuss what it is and how to combat it in your day-to-day activities.

Episode Summary/Transcript

The squirrel effect happens in both my personal and professional life and it has got to be the worst thing ever, especially if I don't realize it until an hour or more later!

Here's a common scenario, I am supposed to be working to set up an email sequence for an upcoming launch, I log into my email system and get distracted by some new features they have released. Next thing I know I've sat and watched 30 mins worth of videos and have begun working to redesign something that has already been released instead of just setting up what I need the way I am used to doing it.

I don't HAVE to work on the new bell and whistle right now, the old way I used to do it still works and from a time perspective, I really would be better off waiting and giving the learning experience its own dedicated time.

Have you ever done that? You went upstairs to get one thing which should have taken you all of 5 minutes and thirty minutes later you are headed back downstairs without the item you went up there for and truth be told you don't even remember now what that item was!

So here is my recommendation and it is one that will take some practice. Before I set off to do things I try to think about or identify the goal. For the next thirty minutes, I am going to focus on XYZ. As things come up that threaten your ability to reach that goal you write them down on a pad of paper or in your electronic device (note you need to prep ahead so these things are there with you).

I have systems set up in my home to help with this. They are called landing pad baskets, yeah I just came up with that name here on the spot - do you like it? Anyway, let me explain how this came to be.

My daughter is notorious for leaving her stuff in the living room. When her room was downstairs this wasn't a huge problem because we typically would just get her to take it to her room or take it there if she weren't around. Now that her room is upstairs we find this is a little more difficult and time-consuming. We have a process of placing anything that needs to go upstairs at the bottom of the stairs either on them or right beside them. This is a clue to anyone going up to take something with them.

For my daughter, I have placed a basket on the landing of the stairs specifically for her stuff. There were so many small toys or other little things I'd find in various places of the home that it was hard to keep them all corralled or to carry them up. Now I just reach through the railing and place them in the basket. She knows to check it as she goes up to bed (if her arms aren't already full). Once the basket gets a substantial amount in it I advise her she needs to take the items to her room and put them where they belong.

This accomplishes several things, (1) It keeps me from getting distracted having to take multiple things upstairs over and over again, (2) gives them a temporary home, and (3) set some expectations and rules around what is to happen with them

The battle once you get this system down is to ensure the little sasquatch puts the items where they belong in her room. Listen, we tackle one thing at a time...the goal in implementing this technique is to get the items in the rooms where they belong, or at least on the level where it belongs. You can then tackle the next phase if they get on the floor, yet not in the place where they belong. One step and one win at a time.

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The Organized Holistically podcast strives to teach side-hustling solopreneurs how to manage a successful business and life using holistic systems. I help you develop, implement and streamline unique and organic processes and organizing systems.  I do this by helping you identify the right systems and processes so you aren't spending money or time on unnecessary things and instead can spend that time and money focusing on the things that are most important to you, your family.