PP 033: Shoot the Squirrel

In this episode I discuss tools and techniques entrepreneurs can use to stay focused and prevent squirrels from distracting us throughout the day.

Shoot the squirrel and stay focused on the tasks that matter.

Listen as @thekimsutton discusses tools and techniques entrepreneurs can use to stay focused throughout the day. https://www.thekimsutton.com/pp033 #positiveproductivity #podcast #productivityClick To Tweet

Resources Mentioned

Focus Tools

focus@will – this is a new favorite of mine! Get $5 off when you use this link!
Focus – an app for Mac users
StayFocused – limit your time on the websites which are your biggest time wasters
Self Control – Blocks service to selected incoming and outgoing servers for a set amount of time
Focus Booster – Encourages you to stay focused through blocks of focus and break time
OneTab – condenses all open browser tabs into one

Other items mentioned (note – if you click, these are squirrels!)


Episode Transcription

Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton.

I didn’t really know how to address this episode, because I couldn’t come up with a name that sounded… appropriate. I came up with Shoot the Squirrel, Squash the Squirrel – but essentially, my whole message is to just get rid of the damn squirrel in general.

You may be wondering, “What is she even talking about when she’s talking about squirrels?”

If you’ve seen the movie Up, which is a Disney movie, you know that the dog is often distracted by squirrels. And we as entrepreneurs – and as humans – can often get distracted by all the little this-and-thats that that are happening around us.

I know personally that when I’m trying to work on an activity, if there is anything going on around me, I can easily become distracted, lose focus on what I was working on, and it can easily take me a good five to 10 minutes to get back into my groove and back on target.

Speaking of “on-target”, I have a quick story to share with you all. There was a time when I was growing up that I lived about a half block away from the nearest middle school with my mom, sister, and grandparents.

And my grandmother had this obsession with her birdhouses. She loved to go out and put bread and anything into her bird houses, but she would hate it when the squirrels would climb the pole, get in there, and steal the food from the birds. I’m from upstate New York, so there would often be cardinals and robins and all types of other beautiful birds in the birdhouse – but only if the squirrels weren’t in the way.

Well, unbeknownst to me – and I believe also to my sister – my grandmother had a BB gun hidden in her closet. One day, when a lot of kids were on their way to school – me included – Grandma went out into the yard, in her bathrobe, with her BB gun, and started shooting at the squirrels.

Needless to say, Grandma had the police called on her, and she had to explain her way out of the fact that she had been shooting at animals while schoolchildren were on their way to school. Does this have anything to do with entrepreneurs “shooting their squirrels”?


However, we do all need to find a good technique – preferably one that does not include guns – to eliminate the squirrels out of our lives, and stay on focus in whatever we are doing.

Depending on whether you’re using a PC or a Mac, there are a number of different apps that you can download that will help you stay focused throughout the day. Some of these apps will even lock your computer from being able to access Facebook or other social media platforms until you reboot your computer.

Personally, I don’t like to use these apps, because I am often on social media platforms for my business or for the businesses of my clients. But if this is something that is an issue for you, and you don’t have a reason to be on social media, you may want to look into this. I will look up some of these apps for you, and you can find them in the show notes at TheKimSutton.com/PP033.

One of my biggest squirrels has come from having too many tabs open in my internet browser at one time. I personally use Chrome, and I have found OneTab to be an awesome remedy for squirrels. OneTab has this awesome feature where you can click the icon in your toolbar, and it will condense all of your open tabs into one single pane.

Previously, I had been finding that I kept all the tabs open because I wanted to get back to them, but I often found myself getting distracted throughout the day and going to take a look – when I knew I had about a million other things that I needed to be doing. OneTab saves all the different websites in one tab – thus the name – until I tell it that I do not need that web page any longer.

I do want to note, however, that if your computer accidentally gets shut down before you use the OneTab click button, you will unfortunately lose any tabs that were open on your computer – unless Chrome or your selected browser does a restore for you. I have had this happen more times than I would like to admit, so I do just want to offer that word of caution for you.

I’ve also heard from some friends and acquaintances that they will often turn their monitor off if they are not using their computer. In this day and age, it’s often very difficult to work without our computer. However, if you’re working in your journal, or you are trying to work graphically on your desk – you know, maybe sketching out on a piece of paper or something – this is definitely an option for you. Simply turn off your monitor or close your laptop, and you won’t be distracted on everything that is constantly popping up.

Another way of eliminating squirrels – and I’ve personally done this myself – is to turn off almost all notifications that pop up on my computer. This includes email notifications, Skype notifications – and any time I visit a website that offers a push notification, I say, “No.” I don’t need a-thousand-and-one push notifications coming through on my PC during the day, because I already have enough coming through on my phone.

And to be quite honest, I’ve been deleting the ones on my phone as well. There are only a few notifications that I really need to receive, and those are the ones that I keep available to me.

I would love to hear the methods that you have used to “shoot the squirrel” or “squash the squirrel”. I invite you to visit the website at TheKimSutton.com/PP033, and please, in the comments, leave the methods that have or have not worked for you.

Until next episode, I hope you have a positive and a productive day.