094: Increase Your Focus with Sticky Notes?

Where do you need more focus?

Are there certain times of the day when you feel that you are more distracted than others?

Did you know that there is one simple thing you can change that will help you increase your focus for an entire day, and you only have to change it for one hour?


That’s what we’re going to be discussing on today’s episode of Overburdened No More.

I’m glad you’re here because this is an awesome topic!

Did you know that when you pick up your electronics device first thing in the morning, you are starting off your day in a way that is more likely to increase stress and leave you feeling overwhelmed??? 

When you look at electronics in the first hour of your day, it is priming your mind for distraction.

Have you ever noticed that? 

Once you start picking up your phone, the urge gets stronger and stronger to pick it up again and again as you move throughout the day.

According to Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi, “The information overload that hits [you] before you’re fully awake interferes with your ability to prioritize tasks.”

Not only does this tell us why it’s so important NOT to take on outside information first thing in the morning, she gives us another vote for the importance of defining your priorities!!!  One of my main topics I like to teach about!

In other words, throughout the day, we get distracted much quicker and mess up our productivity by checking our smartphone first thing in the morning.

When checking social media or email, the brain releases a lot of dopamine, which is a neurochemical that makes you feel rewarded.

It’s also an escape from negative emotions.

The brain craves dopamine like most of us crave candy, so it will stimulate us to repeat behaviors that led to the dopamine release in the first place.

As a habit forms, the brain responds by toning down that dopamine.

Now you need more of it to get to that same pleasure level.

Overactivation also affects dopamine receptors in a way that makes you lose interest in other things and That can make you act more compulsively.

You’re less and less able to resist using the things that release dopamine.

When it becomes more of a need than a want, that’s when it becomes an addiction.

If you try to stop, you might go through physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal.

 It can make you lose interest in other things. 

We usually think about this in relation to drug and alcohol addictions but what if the things you’re giving your brain are affecting it in the same way, and giving you the same result as a drug addiction? 

You start doing things more compulsively, which is not thinking about it first and you have less ability to resist.

That’s how it becomes more of a need than a want… it becomes an addiction.

You’re getting your Dopamine fixes first thing in the morning AND from the input of what everyone else wants instead of the things that make you feel driven and inspired. 

In other words, when you start your day by mindlessly scrolling through email or social media, your brain will stimulate you to repeat this behavior throughout the day, because it knows it will quickly and easily feel good (especially when you are working on less stimulating projects or when your work gets challenging).

OK.  So, that’s a pretty strong case I think against looking at your electronics first thing in the morning.  We don’t want to increase distraction; we want to increase our focus.

That’s how we gain control over our brains and that’s what controls our thoughts, and that’s how we can feel less burdened.

I hope this explanation helps you know what you need to STOP doing when you first wake up.

Wait at least an hour before you get pulled into the lives and wants of other people.

Start YOUR day in the way YOU choose. 

And make it something you look forward to everyday.

I do want to acknowledge that even when you’re doing things that you like to do during that first hour of your day, you’re still going to feel some distractions.  They will be less pulling than that of your smartphone, but your brain is still going to be active and trying to solve problems other than what you’re doing.  That’s it’s job anyway!

Thoughts pop into your head of something else you could be doing.

Someone to check up on.

Something to finish that you started yesterday.

Your brain will come up with all kinds of things.

It’s going to need to be retrained into staying focused on the routine you have chosen.

But that doesn’t happen all at once and it doesn’t happen fast.

So, what do you do with all those things that pop into your head that you need to do while you’re doing your morning routine?

You know what I’m talking about.

You’re trying to stay focused on your reading or your journaling and all these “really important to-do’s” start popping up in your head. 

They can be really distracting!!

I have one simple trick to share with you today that has helped me address the thought without actually having to stop what I’m doing and do it.  

It actually shuts down that little voice in my head trying to tell me “You need to do this right now!”

It’s one of my favorite time management hacks ever.

I don’t remember if someone taught it to me or if I came up with it on my own. 

Guess it doesn’t really matter because it works!!

You ready for it?

This is it.

Have a sticky note next to you when you are working through your morning routine or anytime that you really want or need to stay focused.

Any time your brain puts in your thoughts something else that you need to do, just write it down on the sticky note.

Your thoughts kind of act like a toddler, they start asking you a question and don’t give up until you respond.

Your brain feels like it was heard, so it stops trying to get you to do it.

Then, when you have a break in your schedule, or once you’re done with your morning routine, you do the things on your sticky note, or schedule them in some other time.

Sounds easy but it has helped me stay focused more than anything else I’ve ever tried in addition to not looking at my cell phone or computer during the first hour of my day.

I’m going to leave you with three quick & easy homework assignments today:


2- Put a sticky note next to you during the first hour of your day or anytime you need to do focused work.  When you think of something you need to do or want to check on your phone, write it down.  Do it later.

3- Send me an email at marla@hunkeedori.com and let me know when you’ve tried these two ideas.  I really want to know how they have helped you with your focus.  I love to hear about how the ideas I teach on this podcast are working for other people.


What if you don’t have a morning routine?

Camp Connection will help you with that.

I look forward to my morning routine that I teach you to do in Camp Connection every day!

Routines help remove decision fatigue and that helps you to be more focused.

You spend less energy on tasks you do every day so you can be more focused and creative.

Maybe you think a routine sounds boring.  I disagree.

It won’t be boring if YOU choose things that you love to do.

Camp Connection is what I developed slowly over a period of years as I worked my way out of depression.

Once I got on the medication I needed and got the desire back to do things again, I started learning and applying things that helped me to stay out of the fog. 

I found 5 systems that made me feel healthier emotionally than I had in years. 

I use them every morning & evening now. 

Those who have taken Camp Connection agree with me that the systems I teach are simple yet powerful.  A professional Psychologist with a PHD actually told me that. 

These simple tools help you remember who you are and what you once wanted in life. 

We tend to take care of everyone else and lose touch with what WE want. 

These systems help you get in touch with that again. 

You can put yourself first every morning so you’re able to show up more like the person you were always meant to be and can love your people even deeper!

Register for Camp Connection before May 9, 2023, and get the following:

Bonus #1: $25 OFF CAMP CONNECTION by entering 25OFF at checkout.

Bonus #2: You’ll get the Self-Commitment Workshop & Planner FREE when you register for Camp Connection

Bonus #3: $20 refund for each friend that registers for Camp Connection (let me know when they’ve registered and I’ll get you that refund) because it’s always more fun to take a class with a friend!

Register by going to Hunkeedori.com/Camp

If you have any questions, please email me at marla@hunkeedori.com   I’m happy to help!

Thanks for joining me here today.

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

094: Increase Your Focus with Sticky Notes?