PLEASE READ: This isn’t another productivity advice post. This is the real deal.
If you’re part of the “oooh what’s that shiny thing over there”, constantly distracted, mind chasing dreams club – well, me too.
For someone super driven and dedicated to get things done, I am way too easily distracted. & most of the time I’m the one distracting myself. So I’ve tried and tested a few methods and tools to keep me focused on the task at hand – whatever it may be – at or out of the office. I’m heavily reliant on music, podcasts, YouTube, apps, and earphones. There’s noway I could accomplish as much without them. I also use music/audio/video as time keepers if needed; I’ll play a 10 min video while I get something done that only needs that long, for example.
– MENTAL –
1) REPETITIVE: like filling up an excel sheet, organizing files or emails
I listen to podcasts or YouTube videos or anything informative & I usually stay away from music – because I’m not really using much of my brain on these tasks and music will kind of numb me off, so learning something new is the perfect thing to do here.
I make sure I’m seated comfortably because if I move an inch, I lose tempo. And tempo is key with repetitive tasks or else it will end up taking twice as long.
2) CREATIVE: like writing an email, brainstorming
This is where music comes in, especially songs on repeat. Sometimes I go through an entire work day (9 hours) listening to the same song. It helps keep my mood consistent and the repetition of words/tune help me zone out, into the side of my brain that I need to be working with.
I also make sure I’m wearing high-heels. One of my brand-idols is Victoria Beckham and she says she can’t concentrate in flats and I feel the exaaaact same way. If I’m not in heels, I’ll probably arch my feet or have one leg up on the chair – but definitely no 2 feet flat on the ground.
3) SERIOUS BUSINESS
I listen to and do absolutely nothing except for what I’m meant to be doing, even if all I have to do is think; if there’s something urgent that needs done I never risk distracting myself when audio sometimes can.
– COMMUNICATION –
I’m the type of person that is either distracted by my surroundings when I’m talking to someone OR distracted by trying to come up with a response or question for the person I’m talking to – BOTH terrible habits – because I end up not listening to a word they say.
I now try my very best to maintain eye contact and listen to every single word before I respond (it’s ok to take a second before asking a question or commenting) and I try my best not to look around while having a conversation not to risk seeing someone else I know and colliding conversations.
Simple solution for crowded parties/gatherings: make conversations short, and inform the person that you prefer not to have a long one since you won’t be able to hear much – and arrange to meet later somewhere quieter.
SoundCloud (app), Anghami (app), YouTube mixes
Wunderlist (app) that syncs automatically between my phone and laptops, Strides (app) habit tracker
Toggl Timer (app) keeps track of time spent on tasks
I just listened to the same song 6 times while writing this. Trust me, if you’re anything like me, it works.