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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Distractions are killing my writing concentration...

If you write, you have been there, where it seems like anything and everything is making your mind stray.  The TV can start sounding louder and louder from rooms away.  The phone ringing can be like nails on a chalk board.  A child’s plea for food can send you over the top.  When you are stuck, any interruption can seem like a train running straight at ya’ ready to plow you down.  So how do you eliminate these distractions and others short from a sledge hammer through the TV -  then used to smash your phone, and gagging your child with a dirty sock?

First off.. How is your focus?  Are you easily distracted in general or is this just something new?  If it is just an occasional loss of focus, it can be a few different things causing it - lack of sleep, an event or something coming up that requires your time and focus that is pulling you in different directions, and even problems in your life can cause conflicts in writing.  Sometimes lack of focus on your writing is not the issue with writing in itself, but other matters that you need to tend to first.  Once those issues are resolved, you will see your focus returns.

Now, if you are just all over the place in general, you may have a touch of AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder).  Now, I am no medical professional, so go talk to a doctor first and go from there.  A doctor can give you both natural and pharmaceutical treatments to help you regain some focus.

Now, for those of you in-between, here are a few tips that may help you lessen or even eliminate some of them distractions that interrupt your article or blog writing.

Your Writing Environment: 
Some people can write easily with a TV or a radio in the background.  I am one of them.  When I have complete silence I find my mind wanders more.  However, I do deal with AADD so weird as it may sound, it helps to avoid distractions.  However, there have been times when it does start to sound louder and louder and I do have to turn it down.  Generally that happens when I am struggling with a thought or a word I know I want to use but can easily pull it out of my mind bank. (A quick phone call to my mom or sister generally resolves that!).  However for some, a TV or music in the background can totally throw them off so it is important to figure out your environment triggers that cause you to lose your focus.      

Your environment is not just what surrounds you physically as in people or noise but also the internet itself.  Facebook for example.  If you have Facebook up while you are trying to write and each time you get a notification that you have a comment or whatnot, it is easy to get distracted and jump on to see who commented on what. Shut down any open windows on your browser that you do not need for writing or totally get off line to eliminate that temptation.

Lighting also plays a role in your environment.  The brighter a room, the better for your eyes, and less likely you will begin to feel tired with the need to take a “quick” nap that turns into a few hour nap.  Now mind you, a quick nap when feeling stressed with direction can actually help tremendously in getting you back on track, but it can also become habit forming and become extended in duration.      

The Constant Ringing Phone:
There are a couple things you can do about that phone ringing off the hook...one, tell your friends and family to only call during certain hours.  Make those hours when your writing is less productive.

During the time you are writing, turn your phone off or put it on silence.  That way when the phone does ring it is not an instant distraction.  It seems like for me anyways, as soon as I am on a great train of thought the phone rings and blows it all away even if I don’t answer.  However, I am not so lucky to just turn it off and pretend it doesn’t exists.  I do not think customers would be extremely happy with me ignoring their call merely because I was writing, even if it was their stuff I was writing.

Other things you can do to help minimize distractions are:
Wear head phones to eliminate excessive noise.
Keep a clean desk.  A clean desk helps to keep a clear mind.
Keep an ample supply of Mt Dew on hand.  Okay.. I just added that one to see if you were reading still.  However, it is a must for me.
Have a basic outline to work from.  It will help you keep your thoughts and focus on track

Do you do anything special that helps keep you on task while article writing?  Please share them with us!

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