When you have many important tasks to complete, it can be hard to stick to working on one task. Usually something comes up that stops you from moving forward – like you need a phone number – or perhaps, you get distracted by a person needing your attention.

You can identify what’s stopping you. For some people, they are anxious because there’s multiple things going on, so their brain power is divided between many thoughts. Sometimes, you simply run out of time.

Here’s how to stay focused to complete one thing at a time. I’ll use an example of completing an administrative or paper related task, but you can apply it to different types of tasks you’re working on. The same principle applies.

Select one thing to do.

Completely clear the space you will use to complete the task.  This could be a sofa, a desk, a bed, a counter.

Place the items related directly to that one task on your clear space. You may have several pieces of paper needed to complete one task, a phone, a laptop, pen, notepad, calendar, etc.

Take the first step to get the ball rolling. This could be making a phone call, researching online or going to a specific website, downloading a company’s bill payment app.

Once that step is taken, then the next step will be given. Usually, you are given instructions on what to do next. If you don’t have instructions for the task, then you decide what the next step is based on what happened after you took the first step. If a phone call resulted in being given instructions on what needs to happen, then jot down those steps and other details you need to remember. Include a date on all your notes, who you spoke to, or if you left a message.

You will keep taking the next step until you complete it, or you hit a wall.

Hitting a wall means that you can not move forward until another step is completed – sometimes you may be waiting on another person to complete their step, so you can move forward again. Sometimes you may need to complete the next step, but aren’t able to complete it at the moment because you do not have what you need.

Once the “wall” or the next step that needed to completed, has been completed, then you get the ball moving again.

If you are not able to complete a task, and will need to come back to it later, then stack the papers in one pile and place it neatly on a console table, shelf, or edge of desk, so it will be visible to you, and you can put your hands on it when you can move forward on it again.