Focus spelled out in wooden Scrabble tiles

Do you ever find it hard to focus? You know what you want to be working on, but you get distracted by email, social media, or internet scrolling.

I know the feeling! Yet I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me to stay focused and get even the most unpleasant tasks done.

Digital Wellbeing from Android

Android phones come with several features aimed at improving your digital wellbeing. My favourite is Focus Mode. This lets me pause distracting apps and only allow access to important ones. Like Spotify for concentration playlists, and a Pomodoro timer (see below). I can still receive texts and phone calls which I can answer at my discretion. Otherwise, I’m distraction and notification-free.

Screenshot of an Android phone showing the Digital Wellbeing options

Pause Chrome Extension

The Pause extension for Google Chrome pauses so-called distracting websites. When enabled, a green screen comes up when you go to visit certain websites. It reminds you to pause for a few seconds – you can set how long this is – before a link appears allowing you to proceed.

Pause Chrome extension green screen reminding you to pause

The extension comes pre-programmed with 50 top distracting websites, including Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also add your own.

Having Pause installed makes me think about whether I need to visit a particular website. Or get back to what I’m doing!

The Pomodoro Technique

Never underestimate the power of a 25-minute timer to keep you focused! I have used the Pomodoro Technique on and off for as long as I’ve been running Wise Genius.

The premise is simple – work on a task for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. I use this to get away from my desk and walk around the house. Or make a cup of tea. Or sort out the washing! After three or four of these “Pomodoros”, take a longer 15-minute break. This is perfect for mediating, doing some stretches, or getting outside.

And repeat!

I use an app to manage the Pomodoro’s – I’m currently using the Minimalist Pomodoro Timer, but there are plenty of others around. Or you could go old school and use an actual tomato-shaped timer!

A tomato-shaped timer popularised by the Pomodoro Technique

Three important things

At the start of each day, I list three important things I want to get done. These are the activities that will move a project forward, or have the biggest impact on my business. I don’t have an exhaustive to-do list. And I don’t beat myself up if all three things are not complete by the end of the day. They help guide my focus without being overwhelming.

If I find myself distracted or procrastinating, one of these elements are missing! I remind myself how in flow I am when I’m employing my focus tools. And get back to them!

It’s often the little things that make the biggest difference!

Updated: June 2023

Image credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash