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8 Bite-Sized Tips for Staying Laser-Focused While You Write

8 Bite-Sized Tips for Staying Laser-Focused While You Write


    A blogger’s greatest enemy is writers block. But, writers block’s trusty sidekick can be pretty formidable too.

    I’m talking about distraction.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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?

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      Last Updated on June 19, 2019

      6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

      6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

      I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

      Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

      It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

      1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

      It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

      Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

      When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

      2. Trust the Muse

      Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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      When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

      “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

      The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

      If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

      The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

      Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

      3. Remember to Be Authentic

      Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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      How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

      For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

      One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

      Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

      Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

      4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

      I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

      One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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      Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

      A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

      Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

      5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

      It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

      We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

      If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

      You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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      6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

      As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

      The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

      Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

      Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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