Last week's post discussed distractions that keep us from writing and other important tasks. I asked you to share what distracts you and what you do to stay focused. The internet was the biggest offender and solutions ranged from ignoring it to writing elsewhere (on paper, a desktop with no internet access, etc.). Other offenders included chores and phone calls. Thanks for all the input!
It's an ongoing battle, filtering out distractions and defying procrastination. As I considered your comments and insight, I thought about the next step. Even with the best of intentions, writing time isn't always as productive as we'd like. How can we keep writing and life balanced yet stay on task?
1) Prioritize - Everything clamors for attention, so weigh things in order of importance. When in doubt, pick an item, do it, and cross it off the list. Voila! Progress.
2) Set Goals - Daily, weekly, or whatever works best. Without a target, we wander aimlessly and get little done.
3) Deadlines - Even self imposed ones can motivate and build self discipline and productivity. The feeling of accomplishment after meeting one? Priceless.
4) Budget Time Spent on Social Media - Assess where time is spent (Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?) and set reasonable time limits. Little "deadlines" like this can help us work more efficiently.
5) Utilize Unproductive Time - I heard Roger Palms (author and former editor of Decision Magazine) speak at a conference years ago. He stressed the importance of taking advantage of unused time. We aren't always aware of it - five minutes here, ten minutes there - while waiting for a call or before leaving for an appointment, etc. I call these potentially productive stretches pockets of time, and use them to write a paragraph or two, visit blogs, do internet research, etc. They provide opportunities to chip away at the to-do list.
6) Keep Moving Forward - We reach our destination by taking one step at a time. Meeting a goal provides a sense of satisfaction. This stifles doubts and boosts confidence.
What would you add to the list? How do you stay on task?
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