On Staying on Track

Do you get distracted easily?! Oh my goodness, I DO! I love bright, shiny objects and day-dreaming and squirrels…yeah. And in the midst of my distractions I lose a lot of time. Which, in my world, is never a good thing!

As I realized what a problem this was becoming, I devised three strategies to combat my distraction! You wanna hear about them? (Of course you do, you wouldn’t be reading if you didn’t!)

1. To-Do Lists


If you haven’t previously read my post about my to-do lists and you’d like to, CLICK HERE! Basically, I have two to-do lists every day: one for work and one for home. If something is a priority for the day, it gets highlighted.

2. 10-Minute Hourglass


This is FANTASTIC while working on the to-do lists! Sometimes I want to make sure I don’t get carried away, so I turn over my 10-minute-hourglass and tell myself that I need to be done by the time it runs out. Works every time! The task is accomplished and I haven’t stopped in the process to do 10 other things!

3. Tracking Charts

Sometimes I have a day when I really need to remind myself that I have limited time. For those days, I break things down into time slots. Here are two examples, one for work…

Stay on Track - Work


…and one for home!

Stay on Track - Home

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures!

So, how do YOU stay on track? Any ideas for me? And what do you think of MY ideas?

86 thoughts on “On Staying on Track

  1. These are great ideas. I also use a to-do/check list. I love your 10-minute hourglass!!!

    Another thing that helps keep me focused is planned breaks. If I have a lot to accomplish, I can focus better and get more done if I know I have a set break. That way I am not just stopping willy-nilly to do something really quick and allowing myself to be distracted.

    I’m going to have to try that tracking chart. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

    • Planned breaks, that’s a fantastic idea! I haven’t done that, but I like it! Thanks, Lorelai!

  2. Great way to stay organized, Kristen. I like your Tracking charts to stay focused on a daily basis.
    I do get it all done but not in an orderly fashion. I cannot stay focused on one thing for long (undiagnosed ADD) so I generally have 2,3 or more things going on at a time, it’s the only way for me. In the end, it all get’s finished on time. I’ve been this way my whole life.
    I do use lists and an organizer so maybe I like organized chaos, IDK 🙂

    • Yes, sometimes organized chaos works for folks! You’ve gotta do what works for you, for sure!

  3. I am terrible about getting distracted! I am the queen of making lists. It really helps me get things done.

  4. I have been working on setting better schedules. I love the timer idea (though it’s hard for me to get things done in the time set out as I have two little ones constantly in need of attention.) I write lists but I lose them all the time lol; I’ll have to write them on my huge dry erase board. I’m going to try to outline my days a little better and see how much more I can get accomplished!!

    • Oh yes, little ones don’t function by timers LOL I like your huge dry erase board idea!

  5. I am terrible at getting distracted, too! I think to myself, just read one more blog or I will just post one more thing on Facebook. It never is just one more! Before I know it the time is gone and the day is over. Thank goodness, there is always tomorrow! Seriously, I need to implement some of these strategies into my life. I know that I do make lists, sub-lists and sometimes I keep myself so busy with lists that I get nothing accomplished. I do the same with budgets. I write out the budgets but then when the paycheck comes and it is different from what I expected, I have to make another budget. I think I am a lost cause…..!

    • You are never a lost cause, Cindy! It’s easy for me to take so much time planning that I don’t get anything done LOL just because I like to plan! We just need to work on our discipline in these areas, right?! 😉

  6. I haven’t tried the lists to keep organized and focused. I could probably do better with a list 🙂 being more productive. I really liked the hourglass method- 10 minutes tops! 🙂 Great ideas, thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • Yes, the hourglass really helps me stay on track with things that should not take more than 10 minutes!

  7. I am always all over the place but kind of enjoy it. I still manage to get things done – not sure how though!

  8. I get distracted a lot even though I put lists! I love your 10 mins hour glass.Your ideas are perfect.The only thing what I think is, mind has to cooperate to stay on track.If I know the particular task has no priority I will be pushing it next day list 😛 .That is my problem of lists.So, I don’t generally put time ,I just have “to do list” and keep putting a tick mark ,once done.

  9. You just don’t know how bad I needed this today. I not only have my original blog The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver but now this new one Million Mile Blog, plus being a caregiver, my daughter is expecting twins, and yes I also love squirrels. I just can’t stay focused I buy all these things to keep me organized and it doesn’t work…another squirrel out the window! These look like lifesavers as I try to get my carwreck I mean life on some kind of schedule!!!!

    • Oh my goodness! You need a quiet day to plan! I have to do that when I get too much going on with not enough time to think! It helps!

    • Oh yes, Aimee, I have no help for that one LOL (But I’m sure they’re cute interruptions!)

  10. Sometimes I get easily distracted and completely forget what I need to do! My way of staying on track is to do everything right away so I don’t forget later haha. I love your ideas and I think I need to invest in an hourglass. Maybe that’ll help me focus. 🙂

    • I know, I like to get everything done right away, too, but I always run out of right-away time!

  11. These are great ideas! I have a to do list that has gotten long rather than shorter,I have also tried tracking charts but I still get so distracted by all sorts of silly things lol.

  12. I really like all of your ideas. I am a big to do list person as well. I would like to get an hour glass…. that seems like it would make chores a bit funner. As usual, a good blog post! 🙂

  13. I am always super distracted with something. I love lists and I make several, unfortunately, I make them with things I’ve already done so I can cross the off and look more productive (!!) I need to do the timer thing so that I am given a time to do said tasks instead of just “eh, do this today.”

    • OH! HA! I do that too! Writing things down that I’ve already done so I can cross them off, it makes me feel better! LOL

  14. I’ve learn I have to make myself focus on work for one hour blocks at a time where I let nothing distract me. then I get up move around then go back to one block.

  15. This is how I basically plan my work day. I have a time frame where I work on one thing, then I have a time frame when I make phone calls, etc. I never thought about handling my home like that as well. I get side tracked so easily and with 5 children, there is always something to be done in another room. I will have to start trying this at my house. Thanks for the idea.

    • Sure thing, Amber! I didn’t think about doing it at home, either, until I realized I was getting nothing done at home LOL

  16. I get distracted soooo easily. I have adhd and it can be very difficult for me to get things done. I got distracted while reading your post because I was trying to read your to-do list. ha ha ha. Hey, that is a looong to do list for one day.

    I have made lists of things I need to do for certain projects and then put what I can get done first and then second and try to assign them days and break it down in steps. I set alarms for myself throughout the day. In 15 minutes I have to stop what I’m doing and start my next task. Then an alarm at that 15 minutes. Then another for a hey, I mean it, get on task.

    I need one of those 10-minute hour glasses, where did you get yours? I tend to do better when I have a lot to do, but there’s a fine line of a lot and then too much. Too much and I’ll just throw in the towel and read a book instead. I like your tips. I like Lorelai’s tip to schedule breaks. That’s a great one!

    • Now that’s a good idea, alarms to warn you when you’re about to have to switch to something else. I like that! My 10-minute-hourglass came from Khol’s 🙂

    • That’s great, Val! I tried only using my phone, but I need it on paper. I’m glad you found something that works for you!

    • I would lose them all over the house LOL But you’ve got your system down, that’s great!

  17. My kids (jokingly, I hope) say that I make a list to make a list. I make out my grocery list and all of my to-do lists on my notes app on my phone. Some I save and some are deleted when accomplished.

    I’m a multitasker, too, and can get very distracted trying to do so many things at once. 🙂

    • Yes, I think the multi-tasker thing is an issue for me too, Alli! (And I could be accused of making a list to make a list LOL)

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