The lovely Diedre mentioned in my Dear Lazy Writer post that her problem is maintaining focus. She requested that I write a post about that. Well, Diedre, ask and you shall receive!
Dear Unfocused Writer,
Keeping focus can be difficult with all of our distractions, daily life, and procrastination. I’ve done a couple of posts about these like: Dear Distracted Writer and Dear Writer Not Writing. Not being able to stay focused can be due in part to not being organized or just not buckling down.
Here are my tips to maintain focus:
1. Create a To-Do List.
Not just a list of big goals or jobs but small, attainable tasks and list them in order of priority, so the most important task is at the top. Keep this list at your desk and look at it every morning. After you complete one task, cross it off and move to the next. But give yourself short breaks every now and then to give yourself a boost.
2. Stay Organized
Keep your desk clean, your papers filed in their proper place where you can easily find them, and your email orderly. I have folders in my email for different correspondences I need to keep. Such as: Editing Clients, Beta Readers, Blog Tour, etc.
3. Use a Calendar
I have a calendar on my desk that I use to keep track of blog posts, guests, and other daily tasks I need to remember. This helps me to focus on what is important for that day. Then I move on to my to-do list.
4. Don’t Procrastinate!
If you don’t do it now, you won’t do it later because you’ll get too comfortable with putting it off. Tell yourself to do it NOW, so you don’t have to do it later.
5. Don’t Multi-Task
Do one job at a time. This allows your brain to engage fully on the task at hand.
6. Give Yourself Goals and a Reward.
Goals like “Finish Chapter One Today” is a motivator. It’s not so big that it’ll drag you down into procrastinating. You’ll want to sit down and get to work. Then when you add a reward like an hour of reading time, a piece of chocolate, or movie night, you’ll really want to complete the task to get your reward.
7. Avoid Distractions
Stay away from the Internet and mute your phone. These things hog your time and attention. SEE: Dear Distracted Writer
8. Try Meditating
Meditating for at least 30 minutes a day can help you shut everything off so you can focus easily on what you need to do.
9. Light Incense or Burn Oil
The scent of cinnamon is brain-boosting and helps the brain focus. I always burn cinnamon oil when I write. Peppermint is also good. Drink peppermint tea to boost brain function, too.
10. Listen to Music or Use Sound-Canceling Headphones
Music like Beethoven and Mozart has been proven to help people focus and to even improve mental performance. If noise disrupts you, invest in sound-canceling headphones to mute whatever is going on around you.
With these tips, I hope you are a more focused writer.
Author of Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.
QUESTION: Which of this do you do? Which will you try?