You’re ready to get to work on your book or body of work or whatever your dream project is.
You go to your ‘zone’ and prepare to get into your flow state. But first, you check in. You check email. You check Facebook. You check Instagram. You check to make sure someone has liked or loved or responded to you.
You know what happens next. You’ve frittered away your focus and lost your precious creative time.
From what I have seen with my clients, the biggest challenge we face is lack of FOCUS. It’s incredibly difficult to harness our attention and focus on anything for longer than a few minutes.
And yet our attention and ability to focus is the #1 thing that is required to make anything. We need to be able to shut out others’ voices and opinions. In order to be a writer, artist or business owner, we need to temporarily suspend our other roles as mother, employee, caregiver, household manager.
We must continually train our attention and focus. As we near the completion of a book or body of work, our fears and insecurities grow and focus gets dimmer. We need to be vigilant and protective of our ability to focus.
The ability to wrangle our focus is the main skill we need to cultivate. My clients have found success with some of the following:
- Start with smaller bits of time and build to longer creative sessions.
- Use a timer. The Pomodoro Technique is an example of this, but you can use any timer. My writing students like Insight Timer because they can program the interval bells to their liking.
- Practice simple rituals to enter and exit the creative zone.
- Change locations to do the work, even if it means simply shifting the easel.
- Use free-writing or a sketchbook as a way to warm up before the real work.
At the end of the day, while all these things can be helpful, we must take responsibility for the quality of our attention. The quality of our focus is reflected in the quality of our work.
What helps you to harness your focus so you can get your creative work done? Share below in the comments section what helps you focus.