This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
It will come as no surprise to you that we live in an age of information-overload. Our technology encourages us to multitask while simultaneously eroding our power to focus and, ironically, be productive. Online, we can struggle to finish one article before being lured away to the next piece of 'click bait', and this can spill over into other areas of our life. (Please don't say it's just me who finds it increasingly difficult to sink into a long reading session without stopping to check email on my phone?)
As you might imagine, this lack of focus is particularly unhelpful for getting anything creative, complex or difficult done, and if you're trying to write a book (with limited time available) it can be disastrous.Here are some ideas to help you develop focused writing sessions, which are more productive:
- Use noise-cancelling headphones. You don’t have to play music through them, if you prefer to work in silence, but they will help to minimise distractions. They will also, after a while, act as a ‘cue’ to your brain that it’s time to write.
- Set a timer for five minutes and don’t allow yourself to do anything other than write – or stare at the blank page – for the duration. Gradually, you can extend this time.
- Train your brain to focus on one task at a time. Try not to open several browser windows (or flick between them) while online, when you read offline switch your phone to silent (or put it in another room) and, again, work on extending the time you spend ‘just reading’.
- Supplement your tea or coffee intake by sipping water at your desk. Some studies have shown a decrease in concentration and performance when adults are even slightly dehydrated.
- There is evidence which suggests that exercise can aid concentration. I think this one is a win-win, because even if it doesn't directly impact on your focus, there's no doubt that a walk or short yoga session will be more beneficial to your overall wellbeing than sitting at your desk watching YouTube videos…
What do you do to help your focus when writing?
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