Tricks to Help You Focus
“One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.” -Daniel Goleman
Lately, you lost focus. You missed a few deadlines. Your clients, editors and bosses who once hyped you are now regularly micromanaging you. Your anxiety is now heighten to the level that even your goldfish is prepared to leap out of its tank whenever you come around to feed it. You took to the habit of late night binging, raiding your pantry and your freezer to the point that your significant other is threatening extreme rehab.
You tried meditation, yoga, exercise, self-hypnosis, Eastern medicine, Western medicine – nada. You are desperate. You will try anything, any-thing, to help you concentrate and have monk-like focus.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Short of strapping on Hugo Gernsback’s the Isolator Helmet, how about these unorthodox tips? They just might be crazy enough to work.
Put blinders on.
To keep their horses focused on what is in front of them and on the race, racehorse trainers would sometimes make use of blinkers or blinders as they are also known. Not that I expect you to rush out to your local tack shop this minute but you can take the concept and apply it by making use of some readily available thing in your home or work that will block out any mental and physical distractions. For example, artist and illustrator N.C. Wyeth taped a piece of cardboard to his glasses. Perhaps, a noise-canceling headphone may call less attention.
To meet non-negotiable deadlines, I often sought out a tiny airless room with no phones or view to the outside world. One of my former employers, a Fortune 500 company, made available “hotel rooms” to its visiting employees and contractors. I’m not sure how they came up with the eyebrow-raising name that led to endless break room jokes. The room was only big enough to fit a small table, a chair and seat one person comfortably. It was designed to eliminate any distractions. Is there such a room in your home, at your library or other co-working space that you can use to confine yourself until you emerge victorious from your toil?
Keep Out! No Trespassing.
Block out hours where your significant other, children and relatives fear to tread. Tell them the consequences of trespassing: no sex, cookies or money for Christmas.
Or try out William Faulkner’s trick. He detached a doorknob from his study and brought it into the room with him.
Got some neat tricks up your sleeve? Feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook.
For other productivity tips, you might enjoy this post on how to make decisions under pressure.