Does everyone struggle with distraction these days? We all have so many things to do and whether you are trying to AVOID doing something or you have SO MANY things to do that you jump from one to another, getting them all done seems impossible. Especially this time of year when there actually IS something shiny over there beckoning to you. So how to stay focused and get things done?
Know WHAT it is you need to get done
I’m a firm believer in to-do lists. There are so, so many available now and we’ve covered this topic (use the blog search feature to find previous posts) before so I won’t go into great detail here but as I tell my kids, how do you get stuff done when you don’t know what actually needs to get done?
Pick the right TIME to do it
I have better focus in the morning but my son isn’t even fully awake until afternoon, I don’t think. I have learned that 7 to 9 am is my best shot at getting any writing for the day done. Look at your own schedule and preferences. You can’t always set your own schedule but when you can, use your time most productively.
Create the right ENVIRONMENT
If I’m trying NOT to do something it is amazing how being hot/cold/hungry/restless can throw me off. I could get this post written if only had a cup of coffee. Set the stage as best you can. If you are really struggling try standing or exercise. Standing desks apparently can make you more productive. I’m not sure if I can say that I believe this is true but I do agree that if I sit too long I get fidgety and want to get up and wander around. In fact exercise can help you focus and remember it seems. So maybe a few minutes of wandering around can help me get back to work. You can also try music if that isn’t just another distraction. Spotify has some great playlists for work. (Browse or search playlists.)
Let TECHNOLOGY help not hinder
If you can’t be trusted not to be on Facebook when you opened a browser to do research try an app blocker on your computer set to limit what you can use. Cold Turkey is a new one designed to block certain apps at certain times. (Since this one is SO hard to get around I’m afraid to try it. It is tempting though.) The app is user supported–pay what it is worth to you. There are lots of others depending on the tool/operating system/app you want to block.
Lifehacker addresses this question often, they have some great advice.
Good luck and make 2014 your most productive yet!