We’ve all been there. In mid-sentence, the doorbell rings, a text comes in, and then a social media notification pops up. Next, a breaking news story flashes at the bottom of your screen. Meanwhile, there’s a cute cat video scratching at your toolbar.
Distractions like these are the curse of creativity. And while some distractions are unavoidable, others are optional. The good news is there are ways to deal with them. In this post, you’ll find ten effective strategies to help you get more work done.
1: Be realistic with your time. Start by asking yourself, what are the three most important things you need to do today? Write these things on an index card and then pin it next to your computer screen. Anything that is time-sensitive needs to be at the top of that list. When you feel yourself getting distracted, glance at your list.
2: One of the advantages of being a creative soul is you can take your work/laptop/phone anywhere. If distractions are a problem, try moving to the bedroom. Hanging a sign on the door to remind people you are in work mode.
3: Be intentional with your time. Whenever you sit down to work, try setting a timer for thirty minutes. Follow this up with a short, five-minute break. Rather than allowing each writing segment to feel intense, try making a game of it. See how many words you can type in thirty-minutes and then try to beat it next time.
4: If you work full time, as many of us do, having a set time to write will help you become more productive. Some authors are more creative in the morning, others are night owls. It’s important to find what works for you and then make a daily habit out of it.
5: If your home is noisy, you can block out some distractions. Try noise-canceling headphones. Relaxing background music can also help. Check out Lo-Fi, it’s free on YouTube.
6: Having your phone on the desk is a distraction waiting to happen. Best to put it out of sight in an adjoining room when it can’t distract you. Trust me, your phone will be just fine without you while you do a thirty-minute writing sprint.
If need be, replace the timer on your phone with an inexpensive cooking timer. Another way to go is to use an hourglass. Seeing the sand run out in front of you can be added motivation. Some older ones are a nice touch to have sitting on a desk. Combine it with an inexpensive oil diffuser and you can crank up the focus. Some better-quality essential oils are specifically blended for this purpose.
7: If you can’t commit to not having your phone by your side, then be sure to use a website blocker app. Whether you are writing or editing, apps like Flipd, Cold Turkey, and Freedom can help. They offer a temporary block from social media, shopping websites, etc.
8: For laser-like focus, set a deadline. This type of ticking clock isn’t for everyone, but it can help keep you on track. The trick is not to give yourself too much time or you’ll find yourself squandering it. It’s just human nature.
9: A great way to be more productive is to notice whenever your mind wanders and then correct it. An elastic band on your wrist can help with this. Whenever you catch yourself checking your newsfeed, give the band a quick snap. Pain trains the brain. For best results, use this tip for fourteen days straight. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done.
10: Writing about things that interest you is a sure way to keep your attention. It also helps to let others know in advance that you are working. If there is anything they need from you, have them ask you before you sit down to write, or wait until you are finished. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” — Jim Rohn
Bottom line: We all get twenty-four hours in a day, try not to waste them.
Like what you read? Check out this book for more tips.