When my desk is overly cluttered, I see piles of things that need to be done. I'll look up to think of a word, and this happens more than I care to admit, and the checkbook will start screaming at me to pay bills. Now I have a three-tier tray system, and I've organized papers there in order of priority. The checkbook is hiding in the desk drawer.
I always have my water bottle, phone, paper, pens, etc. surrounding me when I sit down to work. Nothing is more distracting than having to get up to get something. As soon as I walk away from my desk, I notice the clothes in the dryer need folding, the dog needs water, etc. I'd ditch the phone, but if it rings, I have to know if it's a child puking at school, and getting up to find out wastes valuable time.
The Internet and social media sites are so provocative. They suck me in. I'm like a small child in a toy store, it's sad. I sit down to write, but tell myself I'll take a quick look at email, Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah. Problem is... there is no such thing as a quick look. I'm trying to stick to a new rule this year: check email/social media for an hour first thing in the morning, mid-day (just before the kids come tearing in the house), and in the evening. I'm currently suffering withdrawal symptoms, so we'll see how this goes.
I'm breaking down work into manageable time chunks. I'll set my phone to beep after an hour on task, and I'll take a break. The break might be lunch or it might be thirty minutes checking social media or switching over to reading/editing. I even time my breaks.
This might all sound a bit overkill, but I know how easily distracted I am from tasks by other tasks. I tend to overcommit myself. Since I'm flitting from obligation to obligation (it's not like I'm rushing off to do something fun), I think I'm accomplishing more. In fact, I accomplish less because I never finish one thing before heading to the other. Some finishing points are obvious: post is done, edited a chapter, paid bills. Others I try to predefine, like write until the scene's done or the chapter's finished.
(Note: more times than I care to admit, my husband comes home from work to find the dishwasher half-emptied, half the groceries put away, half the dry clothes folded, etc.)
If you are a focused individual, I'm jealous. If you are more like me, I hope some of these tips help you with all those freshly made New Year's Resolutions.
What's your best tip for maintaining focus?
My ROW80 Update
Checking in only one day after posting my goals is a bit of a letdown. It would be like getting on the scale one day after starting a diet. Not much to report, and I want to be able to shout my achievements from the rooftops because I'm stoked to get going. But it's a start...
Writing: I wrote just over 500 words today and yesterday. Definitely heading in the right track.
Blogging: Posting daily here and posted Monday and Wednesday on Mom in Love with Fiction, so meeting my goals. I have been getting around to comment on the ROW80 goals posts. So excited to see 120+ participants. Wow!
Editing: Getting my stuff together. I have four projects going on right now, and all are stretching me in wonderful ways. I've even managed not to edit my own words (except for blog posts).
Exercise: Two for two. Sugar, well...
And, I'm adding a social media goal. My goal is to actually spend LESS time on social media, but use my time more effectively. See reasoning above.
Hope everyone is off to a great start!