The writer’s life is a challenging path … but there’s joy to be found in walking this way. One of the biggest challenges is how to improve focus. Single-mindedness of effort and direction. A goal. A plan of execution and then completion.
But if you’re like many creative writers, myself included, FOCUS doesn’t always come easy.
We can be easily distracted. There’s so much to see and learn in the world, access to so much information. Another podcast I listen to is John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur on Fire – he often talks about “shiny object syndrome” – those captivating exciting things that draw our attention away from “Following One Course Until Success.”
So if you’re having trouble staying on your path, you’re certainly not alone. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But here are some things you can do to improve FOCUS!
7 Ways to Improve Focus Now!
Find a quiet place. Do your writing in a special, designated and somewhat secluded area. Just having a particular place to work can put you in the right mindset and improve focus on what you’re writing. I once made an office out of a small walk-in closet in my home and it was great.
Shut off your phones. Put all phones in your proximity into full silent mode, not even vibrate mode. With so much communication and media at your fingertips, it’s easy to get distracted. You mean to check just one email, get involved in a response and suddenly an hour or more has gone by.
Avoid social networking. Don’t even look at your social accounts while you’re writing. One intriguing picture can lead to hours of scrolling your network feed. Don’t have your accounts open in the background because notifications of incoming messages will pop up on your screen.
Write from an outline. To keep from wandering off message, establish an outline for your writing task so that you can focus on the specifics needed to complete your project.
Try the Pomodoro Technique. Have a clock nearby or a timer – if it’s ticking doesn’t bother you, or set an alarm. Work for 25 minute blocks with a five-minute break between. This technique allows you to focus for short periods, giving your mind a chance to rest and regroup for the next work session.
Make writing a habit. Discipline your mind to do your writing at a specific time each day. This will condition you to perform and build a mindset for accomplishment. As W. Somerset Maugham said, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
Change Your Mindset. Sometimes it’s just a matter of mind over matter! Just make up your mind that you’re going to sit down and do it. Period. And then do it. Don’t cut yourself any slack. Tasks take the full extent of the time we allow them. That’s why it takes some people 20 years to write a book – because they believe it takes 20 years to write a book. Decide what your realistic timeframe is and stick with it.
Following is a video about success habits that you may find helpful. Feel free to share your focus techniques in the comments below!
Brian Tracy – “Daily Habits of Successful People: It’s All About Routine”