During the last year I have had a hard time to keep my focus and to stay motivated, both with work and my studies. To work and having distance courses on the side have made it very easy to just sit down on the couch or just scroll through social media whenever i have felt less focused or motivated.
That is why I collected some tips and tricks during the last couple of months on how to keep your focus on top while also staying motivated - so what fits better than to share them now in January (a new year and all)!
1. Listen to a great podcast or music.
Before I get started on a project, no matter if it is work, school, or the dishes I always listen to a podcast or my best playlist that I know will give me lots of energy.
2. Bring out everything you need and prepare.
Make sure you bring out everything you will need to finish the task at hand before you start. I always prepare a jug of water, a cup of coffee, pens, paper and something to snack on before I get going. This will make sure you do not loose your focus on your way to the tap, fridge or whatever it might be.
3. Listen to calm music while you work.
If the task allow it, after getting excited with some upbeat music, I always switch to a calmer playlist - there are a lot of ready to play playlists on Spotify, but I have also created my own "Skriva, läsa, rita" that I update regularly. You can find it HERE.
4. Write down what needs to be done, use digital to do lists and estimate how much time the task will take you to finish.
Before I start with something I always write down what needs to be done during the next couple of hours. Lately, I have been writing digital to do lists - right now for example my whole life is in the app "Todoist", which works perfectly for me. When you have a list, check the tasks off as you go - this will definitely give you a boost! I also like to estimate how much time during the day that I will have to spend on a certain task if it is a bigger project.
5. Use the Pomodoro method.
A couple of months ago I found the Pomodoro method and It has done wonders for my efficiency. I cannot promise it will do the same for you, but it is worth a try!
The Pomodoro method means that you work efficiently for 25 minutes and then take a break for 3-5 minutes. You do 4 rounds of this and after the last one you take a longer break for 15-30 minutes. Then you repeat the whole process. There are a couple of websites that help you to track your time, or you can always just use a regular old timer, just make sure that you do not do anything else during your 25 minutes of work. This method has worked really good for me and you will be surprised how much you will get done during the 25 minutes.
6. Take breaks!
With the method I described above the breaks are included, but if you do not use that one, do not forget to sometimes take a break. Fresh air, moving your body or just a few minutes of breathing exercises will help more than you think!
7. Keep it clean around you.
This is a must for me. In case I want to work uninterrupted it needs to be clean all around me. It does not have to be all vacuumed, dusted, and smell newly cleaned but I do not want to see a lot of thing out of place when I try to focus on something. That is why I always have to clean up a bit or at least put things out of sight when I work on a project!
8. Put you phone on "Do not disturb".
Your phone is a dangerous little thing when it comes to losing you focus. It dings, vibrates and flashes and to quickly check that notification will easily make you start to scroll instead of doing your task. In the beginningt, I always put my phone on "do not disturb" (you can still let certain phone calls for example come through) so I would not look at it all the time. Now I usually just put it away and work without it by my side.
9. Treat yourself!
Do not forget to congratulate and to treat yourself when you have accomplished a task, no matter how small or how big it might be! You might go big and buy that bag you wanted or book that trip you wished to go on. Or you just keep it simple and go out for a glass of champagne with your friends, spend some time infront of a great movie or have a nice spa day at home. Only your imagination will set the limits here, but do not forget to reward yourself - you are so worth it!
These are my top 9 tips that have worked great for me when it comes to keeping my focus and staying motivated. If you have any great tips, please do share them!