Letters of Life

How to Stay Focused

How do you stay focused on a task or activity? What do you do when you need to concentrate or get things done?

Five Tips on Staying Focused
1. Put some music on.
(Like I’m doing now. If you’re interested, it’s Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry’s voice is sublime.)
Granted, this is not applicable when one is clocking in time on the keys. Unless it’s transcription (oh help) or researching music videos on Youtube.

2. Determine in your mind that you will do it.
It could be book-keeping, email correspondence to business associates, sending off invoices, folding the laundry.

3. Set a time limit.
Say you’ve got a pile of documents to file. Set your phone alarm/timer to 20 mins and you’ve got that much time to sort and file and clear. At the end of 20 mins, the alarm rings and you’ve done the thing.

4. Envision the end-result.
What drives me in writing these posts, whether it’s at 2 a.m. after hosting a party or 12 midnight and the words I’m typing onscreen look blurred, are you, my readers. Writing for other people is always more fun than writing for myself.

Envisioning what will happen if you DON’T do the task works just as well. That trip I keep putting off to the grocery store? Just the idea of eating takeout one more time will do the trick.

Honestly though, there will be days when you’ve got a million things to do and analysis paralysis sets in. Which do you tackle first? Or someone in the house said something that rubbed you the wrong way and you’re in a funk.

When that happens, this is what I do: I get into my car and drive.

5. Cocooned in the confines of my vehicle, I turn on the ignition, the aircon, and in seconds, I’m cool and I’m mobile. I flick the dial on the stereo and I’m enveloped in waves of sound. The windscreen shrinks my worldview so all I see is in front of me and my periphery.

It’s all I can handle right now. It’s all I need.

The car is just a metaphor for your own private space where you are the boss of you. Not deadlines, expectations, request for favours, the pounding on the door. All that can, and will, wait. So if you don’t have wheels, a retreat to where *you* like to be, whether it’s a boutique cafe or a your favourite section of your favourite bookstore, that’s where you need to go.

Then when you’ve filled yourself up, then and only then, do you tackle the world once more.

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