It can take up to 30 minutes to get your focus back after a distraction. In the world of business writing, distractions can add up to more hours spent working, lower-quality results, and poor performance reviews. For writers—especially those doing it for a living— distraction free writing is the holy grail. But with so many distractions demanding attention, how can you stay focused on the task at hand?
Our latest post answers how to stay focused with the right writer focused writing app.
What Is Focused Writing?
Focused writing is writing without being interrupted by distractions. This means you’re not getting derailed by notifications, thinking about what recipe you’re going to try tonight, or getting sucked down rabbit holes that disguise themselves as research.
In the case of business writing, focused writing means tackling one project at a time without getting tempted by multitasking.
This focused, distraction-free writing is often called “flow” and doesn’t happen by accident.
How Do Writers Stay Focused and Find Flow?
Writers can improve their focus by eliminating distractions, setting up their environment to inspire them to write, and prioritizing their work better. While it takes a good deal of effort to train yourself to enter and stay in a state of flow, many writers feel rewarded by the uninterrupted creativity and productivity. One of the best ways to overcome that “can’t focus on my writing” feeling is to eliminate distractions.
Eliminating All Distractions
Writers face hordes of distractions every time they sit down to put words on the page. Identifying distractions is the first step to removing them, but are they all created equal? External distractions are usually easier to identify and block out, although some may remain out of your control. Internal distractions can be harder to identify, but with the right tools, you can keep them from derailing your writing. Whether working in the office, at home, or a combination of both, you, as a business writer, face a combination of the following that take time and attention away from your writing:
- Coworker chit chat
- Social media
When it comes to eliminating distractions, your work environment needs to be conducive to focusing, not welcoming to interruptions. Meetings can interrupt your flow if you’re not prepared for them; schedule your writing time in a way that when it’s time for a meeting, you’re not right in the middle of a thought. Find a stopping point so you can feel good when stepping away.
Creating a writing schedule that you can stick to can also cut down on interruptions from emails, social media, and coworkers and family members. Whether you set a goal to write for 30 minutes or to finish 5 paragraphs, only give attention to distractions in between working periods.
This can be easier said than done, especially when it comes to family (if working from home), but setting boundaries of when you’re working and when you’re available means you’ll get more done, so if an emergency pops up, it won’t put you even further behind.
Like with external distractions, budgeting time to face internal distractions can give you more time to spend in your flow. Are you feeling stressed about another project with a looming deadline? Make time to chip away at it separately from your writing time. Multitasking is an easy way to get nothing done for two tasks at once. If you happen to think of a great idea for something unrelated to your current piece, make a quick note of it. Physically writing it down allows the idea to exist somewhere other than your brain, so you can stay focused.
It’s also important to keep your energy up. Feeling hungry or dehydrated will only make it harder to find the right words. It may seem annoying to spend time refilling your water bottle or fixing a quick, healthy snack, but it will make your time in front of the screen more efficient.
Even if you can’t get rid of all of your distractions, any reduction will be beneficial. Coworkers will want to talk about the basketball game, your dogs will bark at the mailman, and surprise meetings will pop up on your calendar. But if you spend the majority of your time working efficiently and distraction free, then the occasional interruption won’t be as detrimental.
Slice Away Your Distractions
So how can writers maintain focus while writing? With Slice, the focus-first software for business writers.
Our answer to how to stay focused includes ways to write and edit content, harvest secondary sources, and manage projects. Our writing app gets you out of your own way so you can get in the zone faster and stay in it longer. How do we do it? By empowering you to do your main jobs—researching, writing, and managing—in one place. No more digging through endless tabs, accidentally closing out of your research, or looking up topics that are interesting but unrelated to your project.
Slice makes slicing your project into manageable portions easy. Bring in your research, create your outline with sections that you can drag and drop as you edit, then write with everything you need in front of you. See why our customers report a 10X gain in productivity. Try it free today.