Today we will talk about 7 ways to regain your focus.
1. Use A Timer To Start
Sometimes we are distracted before we even begin the task. To get around this, set a timer for 5 minutes, and work on the task. Tell yourself that when the timer goes off, you can do something else.
What usually happens is that when you start the task in a focused mode, you can continue and get the task done. By the time the timer has gone off, you can be so close to finishing that it is simpler to wrap it up than to come back later.
2. Block Noise
Sometimes noise can distract you. For instance, you are writing a blog article, but the noise coming from the cubes around you is causing you to pay attention to conversations. I had a co-worker once with a laugh that was loud and could be heard from across the building.
To get around this, get some headphones and plug in. Either listen to music that is not likely to derail your attention, or pick a pink noise track (see Be More Productive By Blocking Noise)
By blocking out the audio distractions, you are less likely to use them to pull you away from the task at hand.
3. Block Websites
Many people have problems with email programs and social media sites sucking large amounts of time. It is particularly devastating when you lose hours each week unintentionally.
Chrome and Firefox both have add-ons that allow you to block your access to certain websites within certain times or days; in addition, some of them can limit the amount of time you spend on each site. Check out Leechblock (Firefox) and StayFocused (Chrome).
Not only does this limit the time you spend on time-wasting sites, but it also can help you break default behaviors (see Is Your Default Activity Killing Your Productivity?), like checking your email too frequently.
Of course, sometimes just blocking specific sites isn’t enough.
If you need to get something done on the computer and you don’t need to access the internet for a critical part of the task, unplug your computer from the internet and shut down Wifi.
By unplugging from the internet, you are ensuring you won’t get distracted by it.
5. Put The Electronics Down
Sometimes the distraction comes from a cell phone. The phone buzzes, and we stop what we’re doing to check text messages, or status updates. The phone chirps and we look at the newest email.
If you find yourself distracted by your phone, you can turn off the notifications or turn off the phone. Leave only those notifications you absolutely have to have, or if possible, turn off the phone altogether. Everything will wait until you have time and focus to devote to them.
6. Write Down Distractions
Sometimes the distractions are being actively manufactured by your mind as you are doing a task. You are folding laundry and you remember that you need to pull dinner out of the freezer. You are in the middle of writing an email at work and remember you have to pick up toilet paper on the way home.
Having a piece of paper next to you can help you solve this problem. Pause your task, write down the thing your mind thinks is imperative, and go back to your task. When you are done, you can take care of the things on your list, or put them into your trusted system.
By having a place to dump your mind, you can get the things out of your thoughts and get back to what you are doing – all while knowing that you won’t forget the task later.
7. Use A Sticky
One of my favorite methods is to write down what I am doing on a sticky note and put it somewhere in my visual field. Right now there is a small sticky note on the edge of my computer screen that says “write blog post”.
When I am doing a task, I check to make sure that I am still doing what is on that note. I switch windows to my browser, and I ask myself if I am writing the blog post (no). So I go back to what I was doing.
Checking in with myself frequently keeps me on track, and gets me away from multi-tasking.
I’ve given you 7 ways to regain your focus and not be pulled off track: use a sticky; write down distractions; remove the electronics; unplug; block websites and noise; and use a timer.
Article by LJ Earnest, WholeLifeProductivity