I’m talking about distraction.
Sometimes the hardest part of blogging isn’t idea generation, it’s having the wherewithal to resist the outside influences that turn a 1-hour task into half a day’s work.
Here are 8 bite-sized tips for staying laser-focused while you write out your next epic blog post.
1. Sneak in a power nap
Everyone knows its easier to be creative when you’re not sleep-deprived. If you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before, you can fake it by setting a timer and taking a 20-30 minute nap before you start writing. Just don’t overdo it, since napping for too long will leave you feeling groggy when you wake up.
2. Tidy up
Organize your desk. Gather everything that’s not necessary for what you’re working on at the moment and put it in a drawer or file cabinet to be sorted when you’re done working. Eliminating visual clutter in your workspace works wonders for clearing mental clutter too.
3. Make a list
This one is easy to overlook because you hear it all the time, but once you get into the habit you can’t deny how effective it is. Write down the outline for your article on a white board or a series of Post It Notes. Then, tackle one task at a time. Once you’ve completed an item on the list, cross it off your whiteboard or throw away that Post It and move on to the next one.
4. Set the mood
Turn down the lights, close the blinds, and light some candles. It’ll help you relax and keep you from being overstimulated by your surroundings.
5. Stay hydrated
Your brain is 70% water, which is why dehydration can lead to headaches and brain fog. Fill up a large water bottle and keep it next to you as you work. Glucose also fuels your brain, so try adding a small glass of fruit juice to your water bottle.
6. Nosh on brain food
Keep snacks at hand so you don’t have to waste time going to the kitchen and getting sidetracked on the way back. Nuts and dark chocolate are a great choice since they’re packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E, and natural caffeine without all the added fat and sugar.
7. Set a musical timer
Make an iTunes or Spotify playlist with enough songs to last an hour. Use music without lyrics so your full focus is on writing, not on subconsciously deciphering song lyrics. This technique keeps you from having to check the clock, since when your playlist is played out, you’ll know it’s time for a break.
8. Go Dark
Stay out of your inbox and off of Facebook and Twitter. I know, it’s easier said than done! If you want an extra hand with this, try using Dark Room, a free and super lightweight text-editor that gives you a completely distraction-free desktop while writing.
Learning to write with laser-focus will help you get more work done in less time, and there’s nothing more rewarding than having a bit more free time on your hands.
I want to hear from you. What are some of your favorite ways to stay in the zone while you write?