In past careers I was a freelance writer, a virtual assistant, a PLR store owner and creator. I have a lot of content laying around my hard drive that can be very useful to writers, so I thought I’d start posting some of the articles here at Fiction Toolbox.
Are you easily distracted? Does it seem like you’re constantly trying to stay on top of things, but yet never get anything major done? It could be that you’re not focusing on important things and seeing them through to completion.
In our lives today, we are busier than ever before. We think technology has streamlined many tasks, but instead we are given more tools that give us more and more to do with less time to do it. We are stressed and overwhelmed. The phrase “time management” has become taboo, since it implies there are different ways to cram even more into our already overflowing lives.
We have been lead to believe that if we don’t multitask every minute of our day we will not be productive. This can’t be farther from the truth.
Successful people, including writers, have long realized that focus is the key to being productive.
Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’ ~Marcus Aurelius
Increasing your focus means you should get up each day and look forward to what you can achieve. Being focused means you are making progress towards what is most important to you. You will feel a greater sense of productivity and fulfillment.
If you want to see how distracted you can get online, just look at your browsing history. This will definitely give you the cold hard facts of how distracted you get. It will also show you what kinds of things distract you.
Learning to focus is important in both your personal and professional life. In the following posts, you’ll learn tips and strategies on gaining and keeping your focus so you can be productive in everything you do.
Multitasking is one of the most overrated skills people claim to have. In this series you’ll find out why you shouldn’t be multitasking, and what to do instead.
Why focus is important
Why is being focused so important in today’s world? What results happen when you are focused? Does being focused make you less stressed? Happier? If it’s so important, why don’t people focus more?
Let’s find out.
Being focused on one thing for a certain period of time allows you to produce better quality of work. You get more work done and it happens quicker. Your creative ideas flow easier. Being focused on one task at a time is less stressful on your mind. And being less stressed allows you be happier.
It’s difficult for people to remain focused on one task for a variety of reasons. For one, we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with TV, radio, cell phones, Internet, social media, as well as a much larger population that lives closer together than ever before.
It’s difficult to get completely away from all these distractions. One way is to go to a room where you can shut your door and turn off your phone and email notifications.
- When you focus on a single task and avoid distractions, your brain becomes focused on that task alone. This lets you complete that task much more quickly than if you are trying to complete two or more tasks at once. For instance, let’s say you need to write a blog post, do your bookkeeping for the week and research information for an upcoming project. The best thing to do is to set aside all but one task. So, for this example, you want to give all your attention writing your blog post. That means turning off the TV, cell phones, social media pings, closing your door and putting all your attention on writing.
- By giving all your attention to the task without distraction, you can get it done much more quickly and with fewer mistakes. Your work will be higher quality as well. Another benefit to being focused is that your creativity will kick in too. You’ll come up with new ideas associated with the task at hand.
This is great if you are someone who creates in some way. This includes traditional creative types like artists, writers, photographers, designers and musicians, as well as people who create products or services, teachers, researchers, stay-at-home parents, executives, bloggers, and anyone who needs ideas. This means just about everyone can benefit.
- Being constantly connected to others and having many distractions that take away your focus can affect your stress levels as well as your productivity. When you aren’t focused, you don’t get as much done as you could if you were truly focused on the task you’re doing.
- Focusing on one thing for a certain period of time helps you think better. Having your mind scattered over several tasks at once keeps you from thinking about what you are actually doing. You only have time to complete a task quickly before you must move on to the next one. All the while you are trying to remember everything that has to be done. When you focus, you are able to think about only one thing for that period of time.
- Focusing allows your subconscious to do the work. Think about when you learned to ride a bike or drive a car. It was difficult in the beginning, but you were focused on that one task, your subconscious took over and helped you learn. The same is true in your everyday tasks. Once you begin focusing solely on one task, your subconscious helps you do them quicker and easier.
As you can see, it’s important to focus on one task at a time to become more productive, do better quality work and be less stressed. Focusing can help you be more creative and have less stress because you aren’t worrying about everything at once.
This is a 6-part series which includes these articles. (Note: live articles will have a link.)
Part 1: Increasing Your Focus for Better Writing Productivity (You’re here.)
Part 2: Multitasking Does Not Help Writer Productivity
Part 3: Tips to Improve Focus for Better Writer Productivity
Part 4: Strategies to Improve Writer Focus & Productivity
Part 5: Exercises to Improve Focus & Productivity