You probably already know how hard it is to focus on your fiction writing at times. Maybe you have trouble focusing on it more often than you’d like, especially when life gets in the way or life is up in the air, so to speak.
Focus issues are often the result of different things like boredom, lack of interest or even fatigue. Concentration can often be attributed by how motivated and interested we are in the work, but with fiction it can be other things; like not being happy with where the story is going, a boring character, etc. That’s a post for another time. Today I want to discuss focus in general, because it’s not always our fiction work we have trouble focusing on, but other things in life, too.
Here are some ways to deal with focus issues:
- Supplements can help you when you are having focus issues. Vitamins like the B complex group, Biotin (aka vitamin H) and lecithin all help improve your memory.
- Eating the right foods can help you focus as well since you will be getting the supplements from the foods to help with brain health. Foods like lean meat, beans, oranges, peanut butter and oysters. (If you can handle oysters. Personally, they aren’t my thing. lol)
- Consult with your physician if you find you can’t focus on any one thing for any length of time. Lack of focus can be a symptom of several different conditions, including depression. Get a thorough checkup to rule out any physical causes for your lack of focus issues.
- When working on projects on your computer and online, make sure you only have tabs open that are relevant to what you’re doing. This keeps you from getting distracted by all that fun information floating around the Internet. You can also use a block-out app or program that won’t allow you to visit certain websites during your work hours. (Oh, that Facebook! Yikes!) Check out this list to find one that suits you.
- Make your tasks routine. Set up a routine for tasks that you do every day. For example, check your email and social media at the same time every day. Just like you probably have a routine when you wake up, you should also have a routine when working.
- Separate your day into a time for creating, time for work and communication, and time for yourself. Split the day up in whatever way works best for you.
Dealing with focus issues causes your productivity to drop. By learning how to take care of your focus issues through your diet, exercise and routines, you can be more productive.
You can increase your productivity and accomplish more in less time by using a technique called applied focus. Applied focus can help you avoid the little distractions that can derail your efforts at productivity.
How applied focus increases productivity
Applied focus is a strategy that helps you multiply your productivity. Each session is 45 minutes long, with a 15 minute shift in focus. Or you can do 90 minutes followed by 30 minute shift in focus. In other words, you stop focusing intentionally on your task and do something completely different in the shift focus period. During the focused session, though, you don’t allow anything to distract you (except a dire emergency). Phone calls are out, email is off, texting and Facebook are off limits.
Here are some guidelines (be sure to adjust them as necessary to fit your individual situation):
- Open only one browser or application window at a time. So if you’re writing a blog post, only your word processor or text pad is open.
- Keep your sessions timed. Don’t go past your 45 or 90 minute session, no matter how focused you are. You need the break.
- Get away from your task. Get up from your desk, walk around, get a drink or snack. Give your mind a break.
- Be prepared ahead of time. Do your research during a different applied focus session than from the writing session. That way you’re able to concentrate on the writing alone.
- Have a session set up for email, telephone and social media time.
Applied focus sessions can increase your productivity but it will take some getting used to. Start slowly by scheduling one or two sessions a day. Once you become used to the routine, you will notice an improvement in your concentration and productivity.
Learning how to focus on one task at a time takes time and commitment. In our busy lives we are pulled in many directions at one time. It’s best to begin your journey on a more focused life gradually by implementing the tips and strategies found within this report.
Focus is such an important part of how productive you are. If you can focus on one task for a set amount of time you will be more productive in a shorter amount of time than you have been. Putting aside your tendency to multitask will improve your productivity as well, since you will be able to finish one task before you move on.
Removing distractions can help you focus on your writing. Create a writing environment that you feel comfortable in, and that fits with how you work. If you’re a morning person, then focus on your work tasks, and vice versa for night owls.
Eat healthy and nutritious foods to keep your brain strong and able to concentrate. Exercise daily, meditate daily and take time to enjoy nature and your family.Removing distractions can help you focus on your writing. Click To Tweet
Notes: A lot of times, when you start getting tired or bored, that’s when your mind starts wandering again. You have the idea that you’ll open Facebook for a few minutes to perk yourself up. Before long you realize you’ve spent half an hour or more reading status updates or jokes. More often than not, you don’t feel any more perked up than you felt half an hour earlier. In fact, you often feel guilty because you’ve wasted so much time getting sidetracked.
A better solution? This may seem counter-productive, but it often works for me. Go lay down and listen to a timed meditation or a hypnosis session. I often listen to Steve G. Jones tell me how great I am. (That’s sort of a joke. It really depends on which meditation I’m listening to.) Sometimes, I doze off or even fall asleep for about half an hour, but I do feel refreshed and ready to get back to work afterwards. If you’re prone to dozing off, make sure you set a 20-minute alarm to wake up. A 20 minute nap is considered a Power Nap and it really works for me.
This is a 6-part series which includes these articles. (Note: live articles will have a link.)
Part 6: Dealing With Focus & Productivity Issues (You’re here.)