I’m sure many of you reading this know how easy it is to lose focus. Sometimes, while working on a project, a random thought will appear, such as, “Wait, when did Mozart die?” Suddenly, you’re googling it, reading Wikipedia, reading about Mozart’s entire family, how did you get on Twitter?
I get it. I’ve done it multiple times myself
and still do. Sometimes losing focus is nice because it lets you work on things you put off for far too long (anybody else clean their room to procrastinate?). However, there will be times when enough is enough and you absolutely have to focus on what you’re working on. And I think I might have some tips that help.
Set a timer
I’m gonna start with the one that helps me the most. Set a timer to whatever time you want. Work for fifteen minutes and take a break for five. Or, work for a whole hour and take a thirty-minute break. The pomodoro method is a common method for this technique.
Turn off notifications
Sometimes notifications are nice because they let you know what your friends are doing and help you keep up with conversations. But that’s the same reason that they’re not nice. Do you really need to know that Angela liked your Instagram post this second? Would it really be bad to put off reading that hot news article for ten minutes? For the most part, the answer is no. Turn off those notifications. You can go through them when you’re finished.
Turn off internet
For some people, you gotta go a step further. Even if your notifications are off, you can’t really turn your brain off. And your brain is probably going to have a lot of those “Wait” moments. “Wait, is Selena Gomez still acting?” “Wait, what breed of dogs are the best for hunting?” “Wait, did my friend ever post that picture we took together?” Random thoughts are bound to pop in and they can be hard to ignore. Best defense strategy? Turn off the internet, assuming you don’t need it.
Put your phone in another room
Thanks to phones and data, even turning off the internet won’t keep you off the internet. So if you really need to, you gotta go another step further and put your phone in another room. Let’s be honest, you’ll probably be less likely to check it if you have to walk ten steps to get it. And if you are willing to walk those ten steps, maybe that just means it’s time for a break
or you need to put it in a room further away.
Rewards and/or punishments
Everybody loves rewards and hates punishments. Sometimes, that’s just the incentive people need to get their work done. I probably would have had this blog post done a week early if I knew I would have gotten a hundred dollars to finish it. For me personally, I respond much better to rewards as I can always find a way to deal with punishments, but everyone’s different! Write or Die is a good program for this method (with both, punishments and rewards).
Work with others
I recently joined a writing group and sometimes participate in writing sprints with them. Let me tell you, it has worked wonders for me. As I said above, timers work best for me anyway, but add the competitivity to have the most words and I’m hyper-focused. It doesn’t always have to be a competition, though! Sometimes just having a friend in the room to discuss and bounce ideas with is enough to get to work. Be careful not to spend more time joking with each other rather than working, though!
These are the six techniques that I often use to focus, but I’m sure there are many more. What are some of your favorite ways to keep focused? Tell me in the comments!