Life has become extremely hectic during the past decades. With the current development of technology, which, by the way, can be extremely helpful, in particular to us writers, it can as well be an enormous distraction. I caught myself so many times surfing through the internet, checking this or that social media account before writing, that, at the end of the day I had updated my accounts but haven’t written one single word.
According to scientists, the current average human attention span is around 8 seconds, which means, we are in fact, almost as low as a goldfish.
I was reading myself through psychological essays, meditation websites and a few other interesting pages for support on how to focus until I finally decided I needed my list of tips and tricks.
I am a writer, and besides being distracted by household things, health issues, cat stuff and social media, I love spending time outside… which, I finally realized, was one of the ways to focus on writing.
1. Spend time outside
Spend time outside. Maybe by going for a nice walk or enjoying the sunshine or taking a swim and thinking about your story, it will give you ideas you need to write down as soon as your back on your computer.
2. Work offline
Work offline. It will help you not to go on ‘checking’ on social media, and you can concentrate on your writing.
3. To-Do lists
Make two to-do lists. One for your regular day-by-day things and one for writing (and blogging). Make sure you don’t mix them up, but you need to block some time on your daily to-do list to keep some time for your writing.
4. Work spot
Look for your own silent work spot. Make sure you have a clean desk that doesn’t distract you and start your work. Enjoy and embrace the silence and, if necessary, keep the door closed.
Help to focus on your work by listening to music you like. It will also help you to tune out the background noise that might distract you from your writing goal.
6. Big and small goals
Break down big goals into smaller ones. They’re easier to reach, and if you feel you are prepared and ready for the next goal, after a break you still can sit down and start to work on your next goal.
Breaks! Allow yourself breaks in between your goals. Nothing is as relaxing as a break. It will refresh and reboot your brain. Just don’t forget to close the door again after you return to work.
Caffeine helps to support your focus. It will wake you up, and while enjoying the warm, dark and spicy liquid in your cup your head is already on its way to your story. (You might ask, why does the coffee only make number eight? Well, I figure since we writers usually start our day with coffee, oral or by injection, I thought it doesn’t need to top this list.)
9. A Good Night’s Sleep
Live a healthy life with plenty of sleep. From what I read over the past few hours, many people are satisfied with only a few hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately being tired and confused in the morning after a lack of sleep, this might interfere with your ability to focus. Make sure you got plenty of sleep, with an average of 7 – 8 hours a night.
10. Keep your moods out
Keep work at work, frustration, and anger outside your work spot. Many writers do have a day job and don’t live off writing. To keep the focus on what you like to do, make sure you are relaxed and calm and left work at the office (or wherever) and blend out anger and frustration. It interferes with your writing.
Extra-tip: Certain food types might support the ability to focus. I figure to find out if that’s helpful, you will need to try: Blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, water, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts.