No one is immune from distraction.
And there are clear reasons why students get easily distracted – there are usually more interesting things to do.
But, if you want to pass, you have to write – right?
So the goal is to cut off all distraction between your eye and the words on the screen.
Sounds simple. Yeah maybe. At least the tips here should help get you on your way.
Writing is a more difficult and time consuming task than most people imagine. Organising your thoughts and presenting them requires focus.
To help avoid common writing distractions:
Sit in a quiet place, or let others know you are writing and don’t want to be distracted. Put in some headphones and listen to music that helps you concentrate. even without music, you can use headphones to signal that you don’t want to talk.
Disconnect. One of the biggest obstacles to anyone who wants to write are the distractions of the Internet, of email and IM, of phone calls and Blackberries and iPhones. Clear these out of the way, so you can focus on writing. Turn off the internet if you can and anything else that will distract you on the screen. Try putting your phone in your bag or another room on silent.
Use simple tools. Full featured word processord are distracting and contain lots of colours and buttons and it’s tempting to fiddle with all the options. Try using simple text editors such as TextEdit on a Mac, Notepad on PC, or other simple writing tools such as Omm Writer. The simpler the tool, the better. Your work can easily be pasted into a word processor for editing and formatting later.
Create new words on the page. Writing time should be used to produce new sentences and paragraphs, or to substantially re-write previous work. Writing does not include adjusting you margins, changing fonts, making your headings bold, or fixing your referencing – these are all editing tasks. Try and separate writing and editing to help maintain focus.
Focus on one section at a time. Try and avoid going off on tangents and following up new ideas elsewhere. Be wary of the temptation to go back and edit your introduction and or re-read your previous paragraph. Write down any new ideas, but quickly return to where you were.
Try and concentrate your writing into short, focused chunks of time and remember to reward yourself. Re-connect briefly and check your email or Facebook or get a cup of coffee, then return re-focused.
Please let us know any techniques that help you avoid distractions.