• Advertisement

What are your focusing techniques?

Recommended Posts

What I work on personal projects I work on them whenever I feel like it. I want to change that habit but it hasn't been easy. I've increase my discipline to diet exercise and sleep consistently but that was training to not do something. Training myself to actively do stuff has been much harder.  What are your techniques for sitting down and really getting to work without a distractions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
2 hours ago, LAURENT* said:

What are your techniques for sitting down and really getting to work without a distractions?

You are asking two questions: (1) how to motivate myself, and (2) how to get rid of distractions.

1. If you need motivation for a personal project, don't bother. Do something else until you are motivated. That "something else" might include making a list of what motivates you, and a list of reasons to do the personal project, and a list of other things you'd rather do than that personal project.

2. Assuming you're motivated to do the work, put your smartphone in another room, and put a "do not disturb" sign on your door. 

I don't need "focusing techniques." When I'm working on a personal project, the hard part is stopping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Tom, I think if you need motivation to do your personal projects then you shouldn't do them.  That's different from personal chores, like housekeeping and simple chores, but things you do for fun should be fun.  If they aren't fun then you aren't doing them for fun, and you should do something else for fun.

As for drive, I've got a wall in my room that is set up as a task board, similar but slightly different than those used by scrum / kanban, and other systems.  It is there to help me keep the bigger picture in mind.  I'm doing a series of watercolor paintings, and my board has the entire series on it. I can look at it to see how much progress I've made, and the board is always there to look at.  

I can also see the big number of projects I've completed, and the projects I think are important but are incomplete because they don't seem like fun at the moment; they're on back-burner.  For example, I've had the task of hanging a bunch of pictures on the board for about four months. I know once I do it I will have fun, but I haven't (yet) felt the urge to do it.  I know it is a potentially fun activity, something that when I am in the right mood I will enjoy immensely. But right now it isn't something I would find fun to do, so I don't do it for fun today.  

When I'm engaged in my own projects for fun, usually it takes my wife coming to get me at 2:00 in the morning and asking if I'm coming to bed or if I'll be taking the following day off work. Other distractions aren't the problem, the project itself is the distraction that I want to enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to work in a consistent schedule now.  I've had moments when I couldn't stop working but those moments are random and unpredictable. I don't want unpredictable, I want to be consistent. I tried forcing myself to work on projects when I'm not in the mood and the results aren't what I'm liking. I'm doing very well with practicing and maintaining good habits and I want to continue applying more good habits to my daily life. 

How do you focus on the job then? My focus is really random and I want to control it. There have to be someway to do it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a bit dated, but I once addressed the importance of the mental process here:

Might be worth a read? It worked for me (of course, I no longer apply the 5-1-1 'as is', but the framework remains a core part of what I do, and it served me quite well!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two opposite approaches. Either put an acceptable distraction on a secondary monitor (gameplay stream / esports, nature documentary, films that are either terrible or have already watched repeatedly), so that my urge to be distracted is constantly met, or put on some music and run a website blocking plugin that admonishes when I try to absent mindedly navigate to time wasting websites (and also quit skype, discord, etc). I also find having headphones in one ear to be better than in both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/07/2017 at 4:44 AM, frob said:

Like Tom, I think if you need motivation to do your personal projects then you shouldn't do them.

I hate to be "that guy", but that attitude is really toxic towards people with mood disorders. It's hurtful advice. Not all of us have the ability to simply do normal every day enjoyable things without first literally forcing ourselves to climb out of a paralysis that would rather have you crawl under a rock to die and struggling to find the rhythm required to keep doing something that you know you enjoy. A lack of motivation does not mean a lack of enjoyment or other positive experiences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many reasons why one might feel unmotivated.

It actually takes a substantial amount of self-awareness and introspection to discover why we ourselves feel this way. Sometimes it feels obvious, but sometimes it doesn't. And being aware of the many existing reasons for demotivation is a vital first step towards changing our habits and inclinations.

 

I find it important to reflect. I might have three straight days of low productivity due to motivation, but upon thinking about it carefully, there may be three totally different reasons for feeling unmotivated each day! This is probably my biggest suggestion for anyone dealing with motivation or focus challenges: try to understand yourself and your reasons for feeling this way.

But don't get lost in the bad. It also helps to think about why you want to feel differently in the future.

 

Understanding the root cause of a problem is key to solving it. Just throwing other people's strategies at it won't work for very long. You need to know yourself well enough to understand why you have up and down days, and be honest enough to admit when you don't feel as good as you'd like.

Sometimes it just isn't an option to be unable to motivate or focus. So get to the core of what's going on in your head, and why, and you'll have the beginnings of a map to solving the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me my main motivation/focus technique is simply that I want/need to get something done in a certain amount of time. I often set up deadlines for myself to make sure work gets done in a timely manner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Hodgman said:

I hate to be "that guy", but that attitude is really toxic towards people with mood disorders.

Fair enough. I have that situation for weeks at a time. (I'm bipolar. It sucks. Yay! And hooray for medicine.)  During the down cycles sometimes that is a key: Do stuff that you used to find fun even if it isn't fun at the moment.

However, I'd still say in the typical case a hobby should be something you enjoy at the moment. If you don't enjoy it at the moment, consider doing something else until you feel the need to return to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Advertisement