Top 5 Ways to Stay Focused

So this isn’t just related to writers, all people occasionally have trouble focusing, finding motivation to do their work or, in my case, writing.  Translating the thoughts in my head to words on the page.  Here are some quick things I’ve found to help me focus.

  1. Adderall: Now this isn’t a drug commercial, I promise.  I just found that, since I was diagnosed as ADD and started taking it, everything is so much easier.  If you have been told you are easily distractible, have trouble keeping to one task for long periods of time, or make constant unrelated segues, then it is possible that you too suffer from ADD.  Next time you’re at the doctor’s office, ask if they can do an assessment.  It can’t hurt to rule it out, or identify it.
  2. Forest: These days we all find ourselves checking our phone multiple times in the hour, if not more.  For the exceptionally addicted, there is an app called Forest.  It blocks your ability to use apps for whatever time you allot as your work time.  During that period, a virtual tree grows.  If you ‘Give Up’ as they put it, the tree will die.  My combined hatred of being told I’m giving up, along with my desire to keep at least one plant alive drives me to stick to my timetable and work.  There are many similar apps if you have no interest in creating a virtual forest.
  3. Music: Music, especially when writing, is something I find very helpful.  Nothing with lyrics, as those just distract me, but calm and quiet music.  The stuff I listen to falls into two categories.  I find classical music to be especially stimulating when I’m writing descriptions and working on my world-building.  I don’t know why, it just works.  The other music that does wonders for my productivity is video-game music.  Studies have shown that the music created by video-game designers is specifically engineered to drive people to keep playing.  That same motivation can be extracted from the soundtrack, playing softly in the background, feeding you a steady supply of motivation.
  4. Change your scenery: If what you need to focus on is in house, obviously this won’t work for you.  But if you have homework, need to write, or just need to finish that project from work, a change of scenery can do wonders.  Especially because, at home, you have access to all the distractions that usually cause problems.  For me, I have a vast array of books, Netflix, and two needy cats that stand between me and my writing.  My favorite place to go is Panera.  I slip on some headphones, drink the unlimited free water, and munch on a croissant while typing as fast as my fingers will take me.
  5. Take a break: It sounds counterproductive, I know.  To get something done you need to stop doing it?  But it’s true.  Sometimes brute-forcing your work just doesn’t work.  The brain can only work so hard before smoke starts pouring from your ears.  At this point, it’s a good idea to stand up and do something else.  Throw some laundry in the wash, make a snack, go outside and fulfill your sunlight quota for the day.  Whatever it is, I guarantee you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take another stab at your work.

That’s all I have for today.  I’m going to take my own advice and take a break.

Bye for now!

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