Distractions are a natural part of life, but it is important to know how to manage them effectively. Developing a strategy that works for you is essential to preventing distractions, increasing focus, and completing projects on time.
The first step in dealing with distractions is to understand what triggers them, both internal and external. Then you can work to avoid them, and understand what makes them more likely to occur.
One way to help you identify distractions is to keep a diary of the events that cause them. You’ll see that different types of distractions are more likely to occur than others, and some of them are even more difficult to ignore.
Take note of the situations where you’re feeling distracted by something outside your control, like loud construction work, noisy neighbors, or screaming siblings. These might seem harmless, but they can disrupt your ability to focus on your writing or studies.
Make sure your house is in good condition, and that you have a comfortable, quiet space for your work. It is also helpful to use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs, and to close the door to your office.
Eliminate External Distractions
Eliminate external distractions by turning off notifications from apps. This includes social media and streaming video services, which are designed to bombard you with endless updates that can easily distract you. There are apps and tools that allow you to block these sites temporarily, or to limit them to specific times during the day.
When you are about to fall into a habit of distraction, ask yourself whether it’s something you’re doing automatically without thinking about it, or if you truly need to change gears and switch off. You’ll likely find that you are more often in the habit of distractions when your brain is foggy, so try to give yourself some breaks to clear your mind and refresh.
If you are prone to procrastination, a great technique is to create a timer and challenge yourself to stay focused for an hour or more without distractions. It’s a great way to train your brain to work harder, and get more done in less time.
Set Daily Word Count Goals
Set a goal for how much you want to achieve each day, and then map out what will get in your way of getting the work done. This can be a challenging task, but it will ultimately improve your productivity and ensure you are getting the work done that you want to.
Take Action Against Distractions
Next, write down the obstacles and blocks that you are noticing during your writing time, and brainstorm what you can do to get past these problems when they arise. It can feel negative at first, but it’s important to visualize the obstacles that are threatening your success if you don’t tackle them head on.
Once you’ve written down your challenges, it’s now time to take action. Identify the practical steps you can take to deal with these obstacles and challenges, such as changing your display name to “[Your Name] is on Hiatus” or using an app that limits your access to social media while you’re working.