Photo by Mathilde Langevin
Procrastination and I aren’t strangers. We are life-long friends, actually. Besties, if you will. It’s humorous for me to sit down and write about how to be productive while distracted. I’ve fallen off of that balance beam many times. Staying focused has never come easy for me, and because of that, I’ve picked up some tricks along the way.
Set yourself up for success. Becoming the master of your own productivity comes down to getting to know yourself and making sure that you honour who you are, what your limits are, and know when to push yourself to the next level. It takes time to get yourself into the productivity-zone, and there are many ways that you can set yourself up for success.
- Get enough sleep—Our culture undervalues sleep. Getting a good night’s rest can make a huge difference on your ability to focus. This article shows the benefits of taking control of your sleep habits.
- Practise self-care first thing in the morning. This can look like taking a shower, eating a good breakfast, getting up before the kids and having a moment in silence, doing some yoga, meditating, reading, enjoying a hot drink, etc. Even a small morning ritual can make a difference in fuelling yourself for the day.
- Figure out when your deep work window is and use it to your advantage—The average person puts in around 3 hours of creative work a day.
- Know what helps you focus. This can be as simple as having a specific playlist on or something to fidget with when you start to get distracted.
Make a checklist. When your head is spinning with all the things you need to do, a checklist gives you the space to put it all in one spot. While you make a checklist, set realistic expectations for yourself. You might not be able to get everything done in one day. That’s okay! Make a checklist for the week and prioritize it as needed.
Have a sacred space. If it’s possible, dedicate a space in your house or your room as your work zone. Make it comfortable and enjoyable to be in, with touches of things that make you happy. (Mine has plants, a stack of books, some painted rocks by my daughter, and a tiny Buddha.) It’s your sacred little space—You do you!
Set boundaries and silence distractions. If you’re easily distracted, you’ll want to set some boundaries in place for yourself. This can look like:
- Not checking social media until you’re done a task.
- Putting your phone on silent or in airplane mode.
- Communicating to anyone you share a space with that you need to focus and to not disturb you.
- Keeping fewer tabs open on your computer so you can focus on one thing at a time.
- Investing in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help you zone into your work.
Multi-tasking is great, but everyone has a limit. Take the time to know what your limits are and respect where you’re at. It’s okay if you have to set a lot of boundaries for yourself to get work done.
Treat yourself! Give yourself a break and brew yourself another coffee or tea, get yourself a snack, dance it out a bit, or grab yourself some take-out. Find moments throughout your day to give yourself a pat on the back. (These are also great moments to look forward to when you feel your attention span slipping away.)
Have grace for yourself during the process. Everyone struggles with procrastination on some level. Learning to be productive takes dedication and time. We’ll get there though . . . maybe tomorrow? Just kidding. We’ve got this. Here and Now.
Jade is a freelance writer and copy editor, living in a sleepy town in Northern Ontario. She loves growing plants, playing with dirt, and staying cozy.