I sat at the kitchen table at my parents last weekend. The warm sun shone in through the window and illuminated the rolling fields I was looking over.
This felt like what I needed to be able to try and focus more.
Ok, so I don’t need to be sitting in the sunshine, looking at some fields to be able to focus but it did make me think about some of the other aspects that I could seek/apply:
- A single task to focus on
- Different location
- Changing view – little distraction
- Food & drink
- The need to get up and move
Whilst at the table, I noted down some thoughts on each of these, before having to park my thoughts and continue on with being Dad.
1. A single task to focus on
I’ve been quoting Fireman Sam to my son, in one episode he highlights the need to do 1 thing at a time. I’ve clearly said it enough times now, because my son quoted it back to me the other day – proud dad moment!
We are all guilty of distraction and I’m sure we all have a number of apps to help us get (and stay) distracted from what we are trying to achieve.
Closing Outlook, muting my notifications and dedicating myself to just 1 piece of work – that seems like a good start. Choose 1 thing to work on, and literally forget about everything else.
2. Different location
This is one that may be a bigger factor because I’ve been working from home for the last 2 years, and outside of that, we’ve all been far more constrained in our travel activities.
For me, a change of scenery offers up the chance to adopt a different state of mind much easier than if I try to force it from my desk at home.
The change of scenery/venue also brings about an element of isolation for me too – I’m not at home, so I’d not be with my family. It feels harsh to type that, but they too are a source of distraction and usually at the time when I want/need to just let my train of thought/study run its’ course.
3. Changing view – little distraction
I often find that it’s good, nice even, to have a view to look at when you’re thinking about something.
Nothing too busy that it distracts too often, but a big space to look over when you’re letting your brain do its’ thing. I remember reading somewhere that working in a spacious room with a high ceiling was conducive to allowing bigger, more creative thinking – whereas a smaller, cosy space was better for narrowing your thinking and getting down to doing.
A venue that allows a combination of the 2 is what I’m after – perhaps a cosy spot in a coffee shop, that has a big window to look out of?
4. Food & Drink
Sustenance to fuel the work!
I’m a massive coffee fiend, and I enjoy my food too. For me, having a smattering of both of these things can help with productivity – there is no thirst/hunger to detract from the work and the energy they give can keep me going for longer.
Abother benefit of being elsewhere is the potential to not have to worry about preparing the food & drink, nor washing up the dishes afterwards – another small win.
5. The need to get up and move
In going somewhere else to carry out this focus work, there is the need to travel there. It may be by car, or by public transport, or even on foot – adding in a commute to the process gives some mental preparation time beforehand, and some decent decompression time afterwards.
Get yourself worked up for the effort, and then allow yourself to process what you’ve done and come back down again afterwards.
This is one of the things that I’ve missed the most in working from home – the headspace that the commute provided. I don’t miss the commute, but having to switch instantly from the work context, to the home one is proving to be challenging at times.
Notes, Venue, Action!
That’s the grand plan.
I’m waiting for the weekend to roll around so that I can put it into practice – though I’ve already been able to apply 1 and 2 to some degree to let me clock up a couple of hours studying already this week!
I’ve been location spotting and I’ve got my first idea in mind for Saturday – now I just need to find the right piece of work to line up for it.