Episode #43: How to Avoid Distraction and Manage Attention to Write
In this episode, I take both a macro and micro view of attention, focus, and distraction.
At the macro level, I suggest that formulating a general plan of where you’d like to go as a writer will make it easier to focus your attention on how a given activity fits into the big picture (and you can more easily resist Shiny Object Syndrome).
At the micro level, we can focus our attention by minimizing everyday, moment-by-moment distractions. Clear your desk. Try the Pomodoro technique. When you launch your writing session, silence phone notifications, close the browser. You can even try using the “focus” view in Word to minimize visual distractions on the screen.
In addition, we can learn to become “meta-aware,” noticing when our mind is wandering. When we increase meta-awareness, we can learn to nudge our mind back to the task at hand by telling ourselves, “Okay, I’m writing now. So, quiet. I’m trying to concentrate.”
Listen for the full podcast.
Lots of Resources:
- #42: Manage Your Energy So You Can Write
- #41: 5 Steps to Find Time for Writing
- #40: Take Charge of Your Writing Space, Tasks, and Projects
- #39: Manage Your Writing Space to Be a More Productive Writer
- #38: Manage Your Writing Space, Time, Energy, and Attention
- Novelty and the Brain: Why New Things Make Us Feel So Good
- Concentrate! How to Tame a Wandering Mind
- Write in the Middle: Yes, You Can Maximize Distraction-Free Writing
- Write in the Middle of Everyday Distractions: 7 Strategies for Getting Back on Track
- Productivity 101: A Primer to the Pomodoro Technique
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You can subscribe with iTunes, where I’d love to have you subscribe, rate, and leave a review.
The podcast is also available Stitcher, and you should be able to search for and find “Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach” in any podcast player.
Image by Ann Kroeker.
Shiny Object Syndrome is too real. I find that the ultimate way to remain focused and do some distraction-free writing is to use a specialized text editor, like suggested here: https://wri.tt/blog/how-to-cultivate-a-distraction-free-writing-process
Ann Kroeker says
Thanks for the link, L.U. Focusing apps and specialized text editors are a great solution–I’m glad you stopped by and took time to comment with a helpful resource.
Cognitive distraction associated with listening to, or talking on, a handheld or hands-free device is associated with crashes and near miss events to a lesser extent than is commonly believed, and such distractions may even enhance safety in some instances.
Ann Kroeker says
Interesting. I hadn’t thought of “distractions” actually enhancing safety. While this doesn’t relate to writing, it’s an interesting point.