[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
Procrastinating and distraction are two things that are always there whenever I work from home. Nowadays, it’s a challenge to train your brain to focus especially when you’re working remotely. I rarely have these struggles when I work in the office, probably because there is a boss who always tells me what to do with a tight deadline.
With the increasing demands of translation services, I feel overwhelmed by the distractions and directions – focusing on things that matter is getting tougher and tougher. I hate myself so much when I keep getting distracted. This month I learn how to train my brain to focus as it’s also a form of self-discipline.
Set your mood and environment
I’m really a moody person when it comes to going out or visiting a place. Being an introvert, I rarely visit a crowded place or meet up with a group of people. I enjoy spending time and talking with my friend, but it also exhausts me. However, when it comes to working, it’s easy for me to set the mood because I love my job as a translator and a content writer.
I prefer somewhere quiet with natural light. A place with less noise has always been my favorite if I have to go outside. I like to listen to melodies such as piano or guitar; they help me stay focused. If you have your own home office, it would be the best choice to design your workplace as you wish. Set your mood with a cup of coffee, your favorite snacks, coffee fragrance candle, or turn on your hits song of the week!
Work with a planner or use paper
I still remember the day I start using a planner. It was at the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic hit my country. Our society has become so glued to technology that most people around me are more familiar with their phones than books. I do love my phone but I also know its limitations.
Working from paper or using a planner is one of the best and most natural ways to train your brain to focus. There’s something different about picking up a pen and writing things down. I love the feeling of creating each letter on paper. While typing for me is like hitting a bunch of keys in seemingly random order.
Create time limits for distractions
Creating time limits for distraction also helps train your brain to focus, in some way. You can designate a period of time to scroll through social media or make a phone call. When you engage in social media, do it fully. After working for three hours, it’s time to stretch, you can go for a walk or make a healthy snack.
When I know I have to work on translating documents, I’ll make sure to engage in it fully. After finishing my daily input, I usually take a break and make a coffee while checking emails. Let’s learn to manage our time wisely!
Decluttering is another way to train your brain to focus and reduce procrastination. If your desk, office, and head are clear, you are minimalizing the possibilities for distractions. If you get into the habit of doing weekly de-clutter, you can start the week relaxed and focused. You can clean your workplace, anything that was left lying around, paper declutter, you need to know that there is nothing you have forgotten.
Being a perfectionist is good, but the more we simplify our lives and jobs, the more work we get done. My parents are perfectionists, and I don’t want to complain about that. However, there are times they ended up doing tasks that are unnecessary and those aren’t adding value to our lives. If you can simplify things in your life, you will have more time to focus on what is important.
Have a clear plan
One of the most common reasons we struggle to maintain focus is because we are not sure about what we need to do next. Some people require more details to start working and feel comfortable, others less. If my goal is to subtitle 240 runtime minutes per week, then I have to make a plan on how to complete 40-60 minutes of video per day. If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to be clear about which activities you need to do to get there, otherwise, you increase the chances of staggering progress.
Train your brain to focus is not always easy, especially when you’re working freelance. By using these strategies, you can avoid distractions and transform these into some effective ways towards satisfying your highest priorities.