I used to joke that if you wanted my dorm room, house or office to be spotless give me a deadline that I didn’t want to meet. In an effort to avoid meeting the deadline, I would do most anything, including cleaning anything and everything. Of course, eventually, I’d have to meet the deadline and I’d have even less time to do so, although I would have a neat space.
I now employ a few tricks to force myself to focus. I’m using one of them right now as I work on this blog.
1. Set a time limit. I’ve procrastinated all day writing this blog — and not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t figure out which topic I wanted to address. Finally, I picked one and employed this technique. I now have 45 minutes to write, edit and post the blog.
2. Play a CD. Sometimes when I can’t motivate myself to tackle a house project — whether it’s actually cleaning the house or cleaning out a closet — I’ll pick a CD and work until the CD finishes playing. I get to enjoy my music and often get lost in the tunes and before I know it the project is finished, and almost always before the CD has finished. If, by chance, I still have work to complete on the task, I am now motivated and will continue — usually with another CD. I also will listen to a few songs while I clean out e-mails. It makes the task much more enjoyable.
3. Promise yourself a reward. Sometimes the task is just not something you want to do. In that instance, I promise myself a treat, which ranges from a Starbucks to dinner out with friends depending on the challenge of the task.
How do you help yourself to focus?