6 votes

How do you stay productive and stay focused?

Title says it all; I'm trying to stay as productive as possible, at least without burning myself out. I'd still like to stay sane. So far, I've just told myself that I wouldn't play video games/read manga until I hit my goals when it comes to studying and hit my deadlines. I've also got my phone in a drawer most of the time, and deleted the YouTube app. I've also deleted all social media apps, except Discord.

3 comments

  1. lrb
    Link
    You can't. At least, that's what I've come to understand. Perpetual, always-on productivity is at worst a myth, at best a rare quality in rare people. There are things that affect your ability to...

    You can't.

    At least, that's what I've come to understand. Perpetual, always-on productivity is at worst a myth, at best a rare quality in rare people. There are things that affect your ability to focus and produce results, but forcing yourself to be like that is not one of them.

    Do you want to feel focused and undistracted, or do you really want to achieve certain things?

    I would suggest concentrating on the results you want. You might be able to "focus" for 2 hours per day and achieve them. Spending the rest of the day reading, relaxing, eating, walking or anything else is not wasting your life, is not a negative, is not something to feel ashamed of or bad for.

    There are many reasons why you may be struggling to achieve what you want to achieve. For me, the most common have always been:

    • The task is too hard and I don't believe I can currently do it, so I avoid doing it rather than facing I am not perfect.
    • The task is too vaguely defined and I don't understand the practical steps needed to do it.
    • I don't truly believe the task is worth doing (regardless of how other people see it).
    • Some baseline, human need such as survival, keeping your house, etc. is dependent on the task and it's stressful.

    Focus and productivity are normally dependent on emotional states like these. Are you afraid? Are you bored? They adjust your concentration levels like a dial. They tell you to avoid what you're doing, shut down - do something else.

    The good news is you can change your emotional states. You can rearrange what you are working on to appeal to what you truly want. You can find meaning and purpose in the most mundane thing by trying to link it to your personal goals. And you can spot when you're hiding from doing something because you're scared - and be honest with yourself. Learn what you need to learn, if it's what you want.

    But accept that 100% focus and achievement is that myth. Your life will be a nuanced mixture of achievement, leisure, pain, mystical joy, boredom, stimulation and distraction. The more you relax with that idea, the easier it is to concentrate and be productive.

    7 votes
  2. CrazyOtter
    Link
    There was an interesting video related to this subject I rewatched recently (kind of funny sending YouTube links to someone trying to be productive). https://youtu.be/gnSBnQo9-UM I recommend...

    There was an interesting video related to this subject I rewatched recently (kind of funny sending YouTube links to someone trying to be productive).

    https://youtu.be/gnSBnQo9-UM

    I recommend watching it (5mins long). Without knowing more about your situation it's hard to offer concrete advice, try lots of different approaches imo.

    2 votes
  3. Loire
    Link
    As /u/lrb has said always on productivity is a myth. With that said: Make sure your body is physically taken care of. Gym, runs, yoga, whatever your thing is. The more physically active you are...

    As /u/lrb has said always on productivity is a myth.

    With that said:

    • Make sure your body is physically taken care of. Gym, runs, yoga, whatever your thing is. The more physically active you are the better your focus will be.

    • Remove as many distraction as possible. Your phone needs to be in another room entirely. If the work isn't digital then do the same with your computer.

    • Stay hydrated. Drink water regularly.

    • Repetitive, rhythmic, instrumental or ambient music. If you need to drown out acoustic distraction this is the way to go. No lyrics.

    • Consume absurd amounts of caffeine. I'm a big fan of 400 mg caffeine in one go with a dose of l-theanine and some creatine. Puts me in a nice flow state.

    1 vote