My days are frequently an exercise in wandering-mind-management.
“I should really be working on that new fashion ebook but I can’t forget to write a birthday card for my aunt. And oh! I need to print/sign/scan that NDA! But there are dirty dishes in the sink. AND OH WAIT I OBVIOUSLY NEED TO RESEARCH FLIGHTS TO NEW ZEALAND RIGHT NOW.”
There are plenty of ways that I manage this foolishness. I swear by lists and goals
and Google Nanny
and the Pomodoro method
. But those tricks just force me to do fewer ridiculous things. They don’t actually help me focus on doing awesome things. And since I’m trying to limit my coffee consumption to, um, a non-insane amount, I’ve been trying other things to help me focus.
Here are three tips that really help me focus
Focus Tip #1: Take a 30-second cold shower
Wait. What? I can hear you scrolling past this and mumbling right now. But hear me out! When you’ve spent the last hour and a half falling down an internet hole, refreshing your RSS feed every two minutes, you need something that’s a shock to the system and a reset button of sorts. Of course, this is about a million times more doable if you, like me, work from home, but I so, so highly encourage it.
Strip down, jump in, turn around in that freezing water while you grit your teeth and question why you followed this advice. Then get out, feel a million times more awake and focused (and then feel bad that you doubted me.)
So easy, so helpful. Scoot your butt as close to the wall as you comfortably can and set the timer on your phone (choose a sweet, non-confrontational alarm sound) and calm your mind. You (probably) won’t fall asleep, but your mind will stop racing, your legs, feet, knees, and back will feel a million times better, and you’ll finished feeling refreshed and focused.
Note: this is significantly less calming if you have a needy cat who insists on begging for pets and eating your hair when you lie down.
Focus Tip #3: Take a dance break
Yes, really. Who cares if you’re not a good dancer? You’re just dancing some of that antsy energy out of your system and doing something other than sitting in front of a computer. Just choose 1-2 of your favorite, can’t-sit-still songs and twerk around your apartment (or, um, in your office with the door closed) for five minutes. I’m currently dance breaking to this
If all else fails? Walk to the coffee shop and buy an overpriced ice latte and flirt with the barista.