Staying focused is a trial for me. I know it’s because I have a million and one thoughts running through my head , as well as way too many tabs open on my screen. Since I like making lists, I have decided to share some of the things that I have done and/or plan to do in order to stay focused.
1. Close Facebook
Facebook is a black hole for your time. It starts with a single notification. You click over to see what it is and happen to glance at a story at the top of your feed. It’s interesting. What do the comments say? You disagree with someone and leave a comment saying so. A comment war starts. The next thing you know, it’s three hours later and neither you or the other person has backed down.
That’s an extreme version, but it happens. Facebook sucks you in and holds you there.
This is a hard one because I come across things that would be great to post on one of the Facebook pages I run. If I don’t do something when I think about it then it might not get down. I wish I could tell you how many times I clicked away while writing this article, but I got distracted and didn’t keep count.
2. Play music
The right music can be the difference between getting done quickly or not at all. Generally researchers say the best music to listen to while working or studying is flowing music without words, which is why classical is always suggested. However, listen to whatever works for you. A guy I used to work for listened to Cirque du Soleil when he had things to do. I listen to station on Pandora called Classical Music for Studying. Even that can be a bit distracting because they will play instrumental versions of pop songs or movie themes that I recognize and I stop to listen. I should probably find a more traditional station. However, if pop music keeps you motivated and writing, then by all means listen to it. If you wear ear buds, it will also drown out any ambient noise that could distract you.
3. Turn off the TV
This seems like a no-brainer. Even on mute, something flashing on the screen can steal your focus. Staring at the Netflix screen all day is not any better. Trust me on this one. I know from experience. When I feel the need for some television, I try to watch TED Talks that way at least I am learning something while I’m wasting my valuable time. My TV is almost always because even when I’m listening to Pandora, I’m doing so through the Roku (which I highly recommend owning).
4. Set a timer
Not on your phone. I am talking about a physical timer, like an egg timer. Start with setting it for short periods of time. As soon as the timer goes off your done with that thing. You can even use it to allow yourself social media time, just ten-fifteen minutes max. Then walk away and start on something else. This actually worked really well for me until Sylar broke my egg timer.
5. Only work on on thing at a time
This is another thing that I have issues with. Like I mentioned above, I hop back to FB to share something on my pages. I start writing an article and then I get an email about something about a survey that ends soon. This is where the times comes in and why you work in short sessions. I started at 10 minutes. Write on a book for ten minutes. Got an email? That’s fine. I have six minutes left of writing. That email can wait six minutes. Sometimes I would end up working over the time I set because I would become so focused on doing that one thing.
6. Set aside research time
This goes along with the last time, but when I say research about I’m talking about finding new ways to either bring in or increase revenue. I spend a lot of time reading over things that other have tried and what they had success with and perhaps even trying it our right then. If this is something your doing, set aside at least an hour for research. Keep a pen and notebook with you so you can jot down the ideas you want to try. This will keep you from pursuing that action right then. Also bookmark the page so it is easy to find again.
This is not something you would do during your working day (at least I hope not), but getting enough sleep at night is critical. Have you ever tried working on a project when all your mind wants to do is nothing? Being tired is a huge productivity killer because eventually you give in. After the caffeine has worn off, you realize you’re not going to be productive today and that is all there is to it. The rest of the day becomes useless. I am not suggesting putting out mediocre work when you’re tired, but invest in a good bed, good pillow, and comfy covers and get to bed at a decent time so you don’t have to work when you’re tired. An alert person can stay focused more easily and be more productive.
What kind of things do you do to stay focused?