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focus goals less stress productivity Apr 22, 2021

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you have so many errands to run it’s difficult to keep track of what you’re supposed to be doing when? That was this week… dentist, haircut, chiropractor, bank… etc, etc. It felt like I was hardly ever at my desk.

I’m not going to lie, I still get frustrated when I have weeks like this, but I don’t get nearly as derailed as I used to. Past Mel used to basically lose the whole day when she had to be gone from her desk for 2-3 hours.

I’d come back to my office and I’d hear a mental chorus of:

I’m behind.

I’m behind.

I’m behind.

So I’d try to “catch up” and which meant doing a little of this and a little of that and none of it was effective. I’d end the day feeling frustrated and bad about myself.

It was like one errand could destroy my focus for the rest of the day.

Back then, just about anything could destroy my focus. To say I was easily distracted is an understatement.

A few things were happening here…

  1. I was pissed that Past Mel had set an appointment for me. I mean, couldn’t they just clean my teeth virtually?
  2. I hadn’t allowed adequate time in my schedule for the appointment, so Past Mel had set me up to fail.
  3. I didn’t have any intentions set for the time I would have at my desk.

That last one is the one I want to talk about today.

Are you setting an intention for your time?

One of the things I work on with my Unlock Your 5-Star Future students in the first few weeks is identifying where they’re getting distracted.

Meaning… when did you go off the rails? When did you veer away from what you were supposed to be working? And what was the trigger?

For some of us, this can be pretty challenging to figure out. And it’s impossible to know when you got distracted if you don’t know what you were supposed to be doing with that time.

Let me say that again.

You can’t know if you were distracted if you didn’t have an intention for the time.

When I would come back from an appointment all in a huff, thinking I was running late, I’d rush to my desk… and not know what I was supposed to do.

So I’d look at my to-do list. It was WAAAAY too long and that would make me feel more stressed.

Then, I’d check my email instead of picking something on the list. And we all know what a rabbit hole your inbox can be!

But I couldn’t really say for sure that I was distracted because checking my email was working … right!? And seeing if anyone had signed up for my webinar was working… right!? And what about popping into my Facebook real quick. Also working…?

So if you had said, “Mel, when did you get distracted?” My answer would’ve been… I dunno. When I woke up this morning?

The problem was I didn’t have an intention set for my time.

I hadn’t purposefully chosen to use my time for something that mattered. So instead I was technically working, but I wasn’t making any progress.

When you don’t set an intention, you ignore your top priorities.

If I’d had an intention… like if I’d stood at my computer and just said, “now I’m going to write this newsletter,” I would’ve known Facebook or my inbox or checking my webinar sign ups was a distraction. I would’ve acknowledged those were lesser priorities.

When you don’t set an intention, you work on what’s easy instead of what’s important.

And the worst part is, you don’t even realize you were distracted because you were technically working.

Make sense? It’s a sneaky, awful way to sabotage Future You. You don’t get your important stuff done, AND you can’t pinpoint why.

Setting an intention can be as simple as sitting at your desk and saying, “I’m going to work on this book for the next hour.”

Once you set that intention, you know anything else is a distraction.

So you can do a favor for 5-Minutes-from-Now Future You and set an intention for what you’re going to do for the next hour.

Intention: For the next hour, I’m going to work on my website.

Or you can do a favor for Several-Days-from-Now Future You and set intentions for your time by using your calendar. This is what I do now.

On Sunday, I sit down with my to-do list and my calendar and I block schedule my whole week. If it’s on the to-do list, it’s got a block in my calendar.

This has made me much more realistic about what I can actually get done and it’s taken the “I’m behind” panic song from a 10 to a 3. That’s a pretty big improvement!


Purposefully set an intention for your time at least once. Whether it’s using your calendar and planning a whole week or just planning the next hour. Decide what you’re going to do. Once you have your intention, you’ll be that much closer to actually doing that needle-moving work.

See what this kind of planning does for Future You’s stress and overwhelm levels, as well as productivity.

You’ve got this!



Your 5-Star Life Coach

P.S. I said I use my calendar... look what it says right now. 

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