10 Ways to Write Effectively in the Endless World of Distractions

Body RewiredThis guest post is by Maria Paratore, author of “Body Rewired”.

“Body Rewired” was written with an inspirational can-do approach to fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle. If you are sick of weight loss “nonsense” and the latest “craze” to lose weight and finally be fit, you have stumbled onto the right book! Be prepared to take your confidence and your life back! This book is a simplistic yet informative approach to finally improving your overall well-being.

I am a health and wellness professional as well as a high school health and physical education teacher.  I have seen fitness fads come and go for over twenty years, yet our population still continues to expand in their waistline. Fads and gimmicks are not the answer to achieving a healthy weight and keeping it there for years to come. I developed a bit of a “tough love” approach to making life changes that last with zero sugar coatingJ.

I have been so inspired by the positive thinking side of writing “Body Rewired” that I am currently working on my next publication entitled “Mind Rewired” which will address how negative thinking interferes with our ability to achieve any of our goals, whether it is fitness, finances or relationships. Everything starts in the mind, and in fact, many diseases start in the mind. If you have ever heard the saying “you will worry yourself sick”, you understand what I am referring to.

In addition to writing I am also into hiking, snowshoeing, paddle boarding and pretty much anything I can find to do all seasons outdoors, it’s my peace and enjoyment.

Maria Paratore

Author

As I am sitting here writing this, I notice I am surrounded by distractions. Even in my attempt to wall myself up in my office, anything at any moment could break my concentration and end my “flow” of words. From the phone to the junk on the desk, someone summoning for help, hunger pangs, trips to the bathroom, and just plain daydreaming can get in the way of our creative efforts.  One of the biggest challenges writers face is making constructive use of their time. It is easy to write when you have flashes of inspiration and so much material to pour out into your writing creation. However, there are times when one just feels “stuck” and unable to escape the interference of everyday life. Hopefully, with a little sound advice, we can better achieve success by using a few techniques to increase our level of concentration.

Follow these 10 recommendations and you will find your writing Zen!

Meditate:

Start off with 5-10 minutes of meditation. Did you know that meditation allows you to “clear” some space in your brain? By initiating a “relaxation” response in your brain you are creating the perfect platform to be inspired to write as well as calm the rest of your senses and avoid distractions. Practicing meditation and relaxation techniques may seem counterintuitive when “pumping” yourself up to write; however, having the ability to “center” yourself will allow you to focus on the task at hand while eliminating all the inside and outside “junk” that is interfering with the success of your work. Meditation is a practice that is helpful in many areas of our lives. It aids us in our ability to focus, to bring in positive energy, and to visualize what it is we strive to achieve. Feeling anxious thwarts our ability to perform even in sporting events or other situations in which you would think being adrenaline fueled is the answer. So start your day with a guided meditation practice that you can download to your phone or computer and spend some time in rejuvenation and focused relaxation.

Visualization:

For the purpose of saving precious time, visualization can be done even during meditation! Creative visualization is a technique that may bring more of what you want into your life. If you have ever heard the saying “where thoughts go, energy grows” you may understand what I am describing here. Take some time to lie down and visualize what you want to achieve. Bring feelings of joy into your life with this practice. Daily visualization will allow you to think in a more positive manner, help you to focus on your daily tasks, and inspire you to start taking action towards your dreams. Daily practice of meditation and visualization can aid your body and mind in functioning more optimally, while giving you a sense of great confidence and well- being as you write. Reducing your stress and increasing your mood is a great way to naturally allow your body to function at its optimum levels in all areas of our lives.

Declutter:

Everything you will read about improving mental focus will urge you organize and declutter your space. When I speak of decluttering I mean physically as well as mentally. With junk all over your desk such as coffee cups, wrappers, plates, or unorganized office supplies you are asking for a disaster. Clear your writing space, find a comfortable chair, eliminate desk distractions, and have a place for everything. Being organized will allow you to find what you need more readily and eliminate your worry when it comes to looking back through notes you made or ideas you have written on random pieces of paper. If you view decluttering as a helpful improvement, carry it over to your entire home or apartment. Have you ever heard of Feng Shui? Feng Shui is a Chinese system of organization developed about 3,000 years ago and is used to harmonize our surrounding environment.

The premise behind Feng Shui is that our surroundings and the flow of energy through them influence our own personal energy having an impact on how we think and act.  Getting rid of useless objects and arranging our living space as to let in the positive flow of energy can have a profound impact on our higher levels of functioning. Although the concept may seem a little “out there”, using Feng Shui may have a positive effect not only on your physical comfort, but also your relationships, mental and emotional health, and your overall success.

Put the phone out of sight!

Having your cell phone near may prompt you to check emails, answer phone calls, texts, social media, or play games. This is one of my biggest distractions of all time and I am willing to bet everyone can relate! Vow to put your phone in another room for at least 45 minutes during your writing session to lessen the number of distractions coming into your visual field. It is ever so easy to simply look at the phone lighting up next to you and feeling the intense desire to look at it. Writing time should be completely free of any interaction with the smart phone.  In my experience, if it can be left charging on silent in another room we almost forget it’s there!

Get some exercise and stretch!

Don’t exercise? Well there is no better time to begin than right now.  Even if it’s a simple 15 minute walk outside, it will do wonders to clear your mind and help you focus on your writing.  Taking time to sweat, stretch, and get the heart rate ramped up improves overall mental and physical health and wellness. If the gym or outdoors is not for you, consider an exercise video, or better yet sign up for a class such as Yoga. Scheduling times to do certain activities daily improves one’s ability to stick to schedule and be more productive.

Make a “to do” list.

Post it notes are great, however I end up finding them everywhere. Sometimes it’s best to do things the old fashion way! Grab a note pad and make a list of things you need to accomplish in order of importance and don’t try to go too far into the week. For example, make an organized list of tasks that must be accomplished in order of importance for the next 3 days.  Even simple things such as exercising, making dinner, taking a 10 minute break, grocery shopping, and time to write. Make a scheduled “to do” list and stick to it just as you would a shopping list. Strive to achieve whatever important tasks that need your immediate attention. Then, to ease your mind, cross off what you have completed one by one as a visual way to alleviate the stress and pressure you might feel from being overwhelmed with obligations.

Eat something wholesome.

Although coffee and donuts sound delicious, they are not the best choice for keeping your brain and body at optimum levels of functioning. Drinking entire pots of coffee and no water will leave you feeling dehydrated and over anxious.  Making healthier eating choices throughout the day has a two-fold benefit. It is no secret that American people are continuing to gain weight. This significant increase in weight gain has led to a variety of different diseases and conditions that interfere with our overall well-being both personally and professionally.  In an effort to “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak, vow to change some of those bad habits; the ones that are contributing to you feeling tired, unmotivated, bloated, and in many cases physically ill.

Start your day with green tea and fresh fruit. Have a salad with some grains and protein for lunch. Drink your water, eat some raw almonds for a snack, and have protein packed dinner with some healthy fats, grains, and vegetables for dinner. Yes you should enjoy yourself with the “bad” stuff from time to time, but each and every day vow to get a little healthier in mind and body and you will be amazed what that will do for your overall performance in many areas of your life.

Stay hydrated:

Remember the impact of drinking that entire pot of coffee? Making the coffee with water doesn’t contribute to your body’s hydration and in fact the amount of caffeine you consume pulls that hydration right out of your body. Our bodies are comprised of approximately 70% water. All of our brain and body functions are dependent on water to survive and thrive. Lack of hydration can lead to a variety of different issues that we may not even be aware of; however, they directly affect our concentration, mental processing, and energy levels.  Drinking more water is the cheapest, easiest way to increase energy levels, and support optimum brain functioning. Strive to drink at least 8 glasses a day and cut down on the caffeinated beverages. You will be amazed at how just this simple improvement will increase your concentration and lessen your brain “fog”.

Schedule blocks of time in your day for writing every day.

Practice makes perfect? Well it doesn’t hurt that’s for sure. Scheduling time to write almost every day will program your brain to start forming a writing habit. Even though, everything you write may not be your most brilliant and fascinating work; writing a little each day will aid you in your struggle to find the words, topics, or the motivation to complete a writing project.  So schedule time for writing a poem, a fleeting thought, idea, or just how grateful you are to be a writer, and as you continue this process each day you will notice more fluidity and substance in your writing efforts.

Take a 10 minute break during your writing time.

Even those of us who can concentrate for hours in a productive manner still need a few minutes to regroup. Sitting and focusing for too long starts to lull us to sleep and zap our creativity.  To reenergize, stand up, give yourself a stretch and take a 10 minute break. Do anything you may have to do such as check emails, texts, or throw in that last load of laundry. By doing this, you are still utilizing your time in a useful way without having your eyes mindlessly glued to the computer screen. I find it useful to take this time to close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and allow any blocks to be released and creativity to be restored. I find this to be very therapeutic and rejuvenating, which in turn allows me to be more effective when I go back into writing mode.

Subscribe to our book recommendations