Writing Tip: How to Stay Focused When Creating Content
In a time when there are abundant funny Instagram images and videos to watch, Facebook notifications to check, WhatsApp messages to reply, trending Twitter conversations to join in, etc, staying focused entirely on an ongoing task has become more challenging to achieve. So
if you’re looking to write a book or create some content for your business, you have to be intentional about finding ways to focus on what needs to be done.
Distractions are a major threat to productivity. As a writer or content creator, you need to avoid this enemy and stay focused. Here’s what you should do.
Define your goal
What is it you need to write? What do you want to achieve with it?
Set a deadline
When must you be finished with it?
Break the theme down into topics and subtopics
Create an outline that guides the flow of thoughts that will make up the entire piece.
Set a timeline for each topic/subtopic
Following your target completion date, set a timeline for when each topic should have been completed. Also factor in time for editing and proofreading.
Dedicate a time of the day/week to work on it
It could be 30 minutes each day, or even one to two hours every week. Discipline yourself to minimise distractions at those times. Consider turning off the phone (and use the laptop to browse instead, if you need to research).
Keep other ideas pending
As a writer or content creator, you probably think of a thousand things you can put together each day. These ideas often excite us. But because we are dealing with what actually gets started and finished, keep any new (unrelated) idea pending and only give attention to the one at hand. Do a voice note when a new thought drops (so you’ll come back to it later). If you post consistently on social media, you can decide to only share and discuss things related to the theme you are working on (that also helps you with developing the piece).
Assess your progress
Stopping to acknowledge how you are progressing with the piece you are creating is good for motivation. And if when you assess you notice you are behind schedule, you can sort out the reasons. Do you need to set out more time?
A final word: Leverage on the power of routines and habits. We creatives often like free-flows and doing things “as the spirit leads.” But if you really want to be productive and finish your projects, you need to create routines that force you to get some things done on a regular basis, whether you “feel the spirit” or not.