How do you stay focused?

madisonpollardshore's profile thumbnail
I have previously used software like rescuetime, or similar that you can set a period of time where you can't open a whole list of websites, and it's worked for me as a gentle reminder that this is my time to focus, and the news will be there once this focus block is done.I also block out protected time in my calendar, and turn off all notifications for slack, teams etc. so that no-one can interrupt me unless it is urgent.
RebeccaStevenson's profile thumbnail
I put my phone in the drawer. Use site blocking software for sites I check more frequently than necessary.
teresaman's profile thumbnail
Same - I use the Chrome extension "StayFocusd"
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Yes, tools are awesome and also a helpful way to get organized and created focused time. I would also ask yourself why you don't feel like focusing on your work when you sit down? Is there some feeling in your body that's making you distracted? Sometimes we get distracted because of anxiety or tension that is built up in our body, so when we sit to work, we just can't start working. See if you can learn more about how you are feeling and go from there.
MWags's profile thumbnail
There are a couple of things you can do here to support your focus:- Set a specific time for scrolling, checking news/videos and stocks and anything else you check frequently. Some people like to do this first thing, others use it as a bit of a mid-day treat when they've gotten through some work- Use a time blocking method, like those suggested here or the Pomodoro method (25 min of work, 5 min break) to set parameters around how much time you are asking yourself to focus. Start with 10 or 15 min if 25 min feels too long!- At the start of each time block or pomodoro, state or write down what you want to get done in that block and why it's important. eg, "I will answer 4 emails in the next 25 minutes and it is important because it will move X project forward and let others continue their work"- Plan frequent breaks throughout the day, especially as you build up your focus. They can be scrolling breaks, walking breaks or just totally unstructured time.
jasminepfingsten's profile thumbnail

The world we live in is increasingly vying for our attention as though it's a commodity...because it is. If you can't focus, it's probably not your fault. But you can definitely take steps that will help.

  • Get a dumb phone. Seriously. Your smartphone should be a tool, not a black hole where your attention goes to die. A hammer doesn't compel you to pick it up needlessly, right? Neither should a phone. I have a phone without email, internet, or news apps that I can put my SIM card into when I need a smartphone break. It's called a Light Phone. Game changer.
  • Get a fidget object that will keep your hands busy while you're working, which has been shown to increase focus (and why doodling during a meeting actually helps you listen better). I'm a big fan of Speks.
  • Find analog ways to stimulate your brain. Be prepared for things like books, people watching, and the like to feel boring at first...but the more your brain slows down and gets back into that "real world" rhythm, the more intentional and less magpie its focus becomes. Speaking from experience.
  • Related to the above: When you're experiencing downtime like the doctor's office lobby or on a walk outside, play games with yourself that don't require technology. See how many red objects you can find, or how many people are wearing hats, or order everyone in the room from shortest to tallest in your mind. Games like this keep you engaged because of something you chose to do rather than something an algorithm served up for you. Reference text: The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker.
  • Evaluate whether or not your work is of a type that would make a person too wired, and take steps to curb it. Some jobs require you to be connected all the time. Some bosses have personality types that give us work-related neurosis as we constantly work to anticipate their needs. Find a way to unplug -- truly unplug -- off the clock. And instead of staying at a breakneck pace because you're worried you can't get back into it come work time, become a master of transitioning from one to the other with speed and grace. It will take some practice to get strong at this, but it can be done.

Hope that helps! <3

cakerug's profile thumbnail
One thing for me that is the worst about getting distracted is I'll forget what I was trying to do if I have to switch tools a lot to do a task. This especially happens if I'm using tools that have other distractions in them. E.g., if I need to message or email someone for a task, I'll open up my messaging or email app and then get distracted by new messages/email and forget what I was trying to do to begin with.To solve this, I started to use the Stickies app that comes by default with Macs to have a persistent, translucent, floating-on-top window that has my current task written in it. In this way, I think getting distracted isn't too bad as long as transitioning back to what I wanted to do is fast. Sometimes, the new distraction is urgent so this allows me to do that and not forget what I was doing.I'll sometimes also keep a little tally there every time I get distracted or write new distractions there that I want to follow up on but are decidedly less important.I really like what @annamiller said about learning more about how you're feeling to figure out if there is any reason you're being distracted. I think this tally could help me realize that I should pause and think about whether or not I'm being distracted because of some underlying feeling.
saraanderson's profile thumbnail
I second the Pomodoro technique that Meaghan mentioned. It's simple and POWERFUL. Another practice that I love to retrain yourself is micro-intentions. Every time you get up from your desk, sit down to your desk, go to a different room (transition points), take 10 seconds to state your intention. "I'm going to use the bathroom, make a smoothie, let the dog out." "I'm going to send that email to Susan, and reply to the messages in my DMs". You would be amazed with how this cleans up mindless time lost. Not to mention decreases the amount of times you walk into a room and wonder why you went in there, or got up from your laptop and find yourself standing in the kitchen refreshing your email on your phone. (As random examples 😉)This is something you can implement for a few days whenever you feel like you could use help re-focusing yourself.
This is amazing!!
saraanderson's profile thumbnail
So glad it resonates!