Once upon a time I was a little software developer underling. When I was done with something I walked to my boss and said "Hey boss, what shall I do?" and my boss said "Go write that program". And I wrote that program until I was done, just to start over. But these simple times are gone for good.

These days there are more tasks, more complex tasks, more interuptions. If I don't watch out I end up spending 50% of my time wondering, what I was doing before I was interrupted, and what of the myriads of things I should do next, and ... wait that interruption ... what was it about? Anybody knows that feeling? The feeling that you don't know where to start? Say Aye!

There are a couple of easy thins you can and absolutely should do to get and stay focused. And the first thing is:

Plan what to do!

It  doesn't matter what 'tool' you use. Paper and pencil for a todo list is fine. There are tons of apps out there for it as well. But what I prefer most is actually Outlook. I basically have a two stage process for this planning: First I mark everything I need to do (which most of the time is somehow represented by anE-Mail) with a colored flag: Red: Very important to do; Orange: important to do; Green: to do. I also use yellow for important information and purple for stuff I expect an answer on. In the second step I turn the stuff I am going to do in the planning period into actuall apointments on my calendar. This has two positive effects:

  1. Nobody schedules a meeting with you in the free two hours you reserved for important work
  2. Outlook actually tells you what to do next. A great way to stay focused.

So what is your trick to stay (or get) focused?