Many people have problems focusing or being productive, so to say whether it’s working for school, office, or just hobby.
I’ve been freelancing for about 1.5 years now, and I’ve tried to build a semi-successful business that didn’t work out initially, but starting freelance writing did really well for about three last months. I pretty much work all day. If I see a potential story, I dive into it and write about it.
But that isn’t always as easy as it might look. This article will show you my strategies for productivity and being focused for a longer time.
Get Rid of Distractions
Many people try to improve their productivity by using more stuff like Apps, Notebooks to track your progress, or other time management tools. This might work efficiently, but that doesn’t make it more productive. Because of that, you should remove additional items from your place instead of adding things.
What do I mean by that? Here is a list of the biggest ‘threats’ to productivity.
Social Media & Tv
A regular day usually starts by consuming information by watching the news or reading the paper on your phone. I’m not even mentioning social media apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok.
These distractions won’t help you, and even worse, Social Media tends to make you feel stressed, insecure, and not really productive.
E-Mail is addictive. I check my E-mail a lot daily. Most people check their E-Mail just after they wake up. This can cause stress, and it fills your head with negative information because you wake up with work on your mind. So stop doing that.
Leave your Phone Alone
Checking your phone in the morning is something we all do. I’m guilty too. This harms your productivity, and if you have a notification, you really can’t focus well.
This is not just the moment you receive a notification, but you keep thinking about it, and it takes a moment before you have your focus back.
Create Smaller Tasks
Creating smaller and actionable tasks helps us stay motivated because it can take forever when each task is overwhelming. You haven’t set a time duration, and the only way to finish it is to complete the whole thing, which might result in that particular task staying on your to-do list for days.
“Breaking tasks down helps us to see large tasks as more approachable and doable, and reduces our propensity to procrastinate or defer tasks, because we simply don’t know where to begin.”
— Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.
An example, you need to write a report for a piece of software you have written (I’m a software engineer), you might want to break that task up into several parts:
Main Task: Write a Documentation Report
- Write an Introduction
- Develop use-cases & user-stories
- Create a wireframe
- Write about the problem you’re solving.
- Write a conclusion
This way, it’s much easier to cross one off the list, and you’ll find out that when it’s a measurable task, you will be much more motivated to finish the rest of your list and gain the confidence to continue.
Set Strict but Realistic Deadlines
To give your productivity a major boost, you shouldn’t give yourself extra time to finish a task. It would be best if you give yourself less time to improve your productivity.
It doesn’t matter how much time you have. Just tell yourself you have to finish it before the deadline. You are programmed to complete ‘realistic’ tasks within ‘realistic’ amounts of time, so try to challenge yourself by giving you less time and putting yourself under pressure.
Once you create those strict deadlines, you’ll see that you get things are done as fast as you want and much faster than you’d expect because you’re fully focused on that deadline instead of peripheral matters.
Be The Boss In The Morning
According to Ben Hardy:
Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while you slept, making contextual and temporal connections. So, immediately following sleep, your mind is most readily active to do thoughtful work.
If you’re (like myself) not really a morning person having a focussed morning will definitely set a powerful precedent for your day, and that’s why you should capitalize in the morning.
Starting with a good cup of coffee and breakfast is something you’ll need, and some exercise will do your brain well.
When you are completely awake, it is best to plan for that day, write down your daily goals, and read a good book that will make your brain feel inspired.
When you feel in control, you are much more likely to be productive for the rest of the day.