One of the biggest challenges for writers today, with the Internet, social media, and the many "Ripley's- believe-it-or-not" things that beckon for our attention in the daily news, is staying focused.
Take for example, this week.
I wanted to check out the LinkedIn profile of a new client, for a project I'm working on, so I embarked upon a little research.
In so doing, I discovered I had received dozens of requests to add people to my network, since the last time I signed in.
Fascinated with their profiles, I ended up getting distracted, and spent way too much time on something that basically yielded no return on my investment.
Then there are the guest posts, book reviews, and "let's stay in touch" emails that must be explored and processed.
Factor into the equation, that as creative individuals, most of us have a natural and healthy curiosity.
We want the scoop on who's doing what, why and where.
After all, there's sure to be some story, interview, or essay potential in there somewhere. Right?
And did I mention the allure of Spring? Oh my!
..."Meanwhile, back at the ranch," you've got client work that requires your attention.
Bills that must be paid. Assignments from editors that compete to be completed.
Dreams you've been dying to pursue.
All the more reason you need to keep your eye on the prize and stay focused! There is too much at stake not to.
HERE ARE FIVE TIPS TO KEEP YOU ON THE "WRITE" PATH:
1. Make a list.
Lists provide structure, and often serve as visual reminders of the tasks you need to complete on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Another alternative that is equally effective is the online calendars available for scheduling "things to do."
2. Set Goals.
Any game plan that is not accompanied by concrete, clear goals is often just a waste of time. For example, this summer, I want to complete two books I have been working on for myself, and one for a ghostwriting client. Knowing this helps me to govern my time better and to "budget" accordingly.
3. Recognize that "time is money."
It's okay to goof off a little. Go to the beach. Spend time gossiping with your girlfriends.
Kick back to a good flick and indulge in a little chocolate treat. You deserve it.
In fact, sometimes the best way to actually be productive is to allow ourselves to be periodically immersed in outside things (and interesting folks) that can feed our creativity.
But set time limits. Then get back to work.
4. Disconnect to go the distance.
Truth is, some distractions we can control; others catch us off guard and take us off course.
But, I find that when I need to be fully focused and in the moment, it helps to take the phone off the hook and disable all the electronic devices that ring, beep, chime, and toot to get our attention.
The world will survive without you for awhile.
Trust me on this one. :-)
5. Get a Goal Buddy.
People use them in everything from working out at the gym, to studying for school, to creative projects. Simply put, a Goal Buddy keeps you accountable. It can be a relative, a friend from church, a neighbor, or a fellow writer. The idea here is to share your aspirations and to keep each other motivated and moving forward.
If you suffer from the "Next shiny object syndrome" these timely tips will help you to keep things in perspective and concentrate on things that matter most for your career.
Now that I've shared my thoughts here, care to share yours?
Leave a comment...:-)