5 ways to deflect distractions

This week, my focus has been on productivity – like how to keep focused on the things I need to do to move forward when there are so many shiny objects distracting me. This is not an easy task for someone like me. Even now, I have the dog barking around me, music playing through my headphones, and I just shut off Facebook to keep procrastination from breaking down my willpower.

Thing is, I have to come up with a heavy duty plan to remain focused, or all the things I want to accomplish will not happen. Here’s my hopeful goal:

Now – Sept. 11
Receive “Finding Hope” back from beta readers
Make necessary changes
Do one last read-through
Craft back cover text

Sept. 12-27
Give editor my final draft of “Finding Hope”
Twiddle my thumbs in anticipation
Edit next novel, “Come Here, Cupcake
Work with cover designer

Sept. 28-Oct. 14
Get edited “Finding Hope” back from editor
Make any necessary changes
Finalize cover
Order book postcards

Oct. 15
PUBLISH “Finding Hope”

Oct. 16-31
Finish edits on “Come Here, Cupcake”
Book reading (Oct. 25th, y’all!)
Continue/schedule promotions for “Finding Hope”

Nov. 1-30
NaNoWriMo (see y’all in December!)Hand “Come Here, Cupcake” off to beta readers

Dec. 1-15
Final edits on “Come Here, Cupcake”

Dec. 16-Jan. 10
Hand “Cupcake” over to editor
Work on back cover blurb
Work on cover with designer
Eat a million cupcakes while I wait to get the book back

Jan. 11-27
Get “Cupcake” back from editor
Make final edits
Finalize cover
Order postcards

Jan. 28-Feb.1 (approximately, fingers crossed!)

And then start editing my next novel….

So yeah, I have my work cut out for me, and it’s now or never to keep myself focused and on track.

To do this, I’ve created a few guidelines for myself that will start as soon as this blog post is published.

1. Less time on social media. I guess the best way to do this is to set a timer when I first wake up so I can catch up with what’s going on. When the timer goes off, it’s time to work. Mixtus Media recently offered a free download of ways to use social media for promotional reasons in just minutes a day. For Facebook, they suggest perusing the newsfeed for only 10 minutes, respond to comments, follow other relevant FB pages, giving a shoutout to new followers, and scheduling two posts. The end. They also give tips for Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest, all within a certain time frame. I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate these guidelines in my social media habits, and have been seeing a bit of progress with my time management.

2. Non-work hours mean work email is turned off. This one is going to be a little hard, and I may break the rule to check it at least once a day. I work in a profession where everyone just kind of checks their email throughout the day, whether they’re working or not. But maybe that means instructing my managers to call me if something needs my attention instead of emailing me.

3. Checking my personal email less. Again, this is not going to be easy. Maybe I need to turn this off during the day, as well! But my plan is to set aside only two or three times a day to check email. That still sounds like a lot, I know. But when I usually check it twenty times a day, it’s really not.

4. Set non-negotiable times for book work. I’m not yet at the point where I need to wake up at 5 or earlier. That will happen in November with NaNoWriMo. For now, I think my system is working pretty well. I edit on my lunch breaks and in the evening, and buckle down on the weekends. But as deadlines loom, I may need to sacrifice some sleep to get stuff done.

5. Say no to procrastination. Every moment I waste doing stuff I should be doing takes away from reaching my goals. When I put off things like, say, cleaning or grocery shopping, I am only pushing back the time when I can work on the novel. If I were to just do everything I was supposed to as soon as it can be done, I’d be free to do the things I really want to be doing.

Beyond that, I have basically given up all TV except for in the few minutes before bed, my social life really sucks, and I carry my computer with me everywhere just in case I have a moment when I could be working on the book.

What are some ways you keep on task and deflect distractions? Have you given up social media? Have you found any cool programs? Do you sacrifice some things in favor of the project you’re working on? Leave your own tips in the comments – I want to learn from you!

1 thought on “5 ways to deflect distractions”

  1. Unfortunately, in order to promote my books, I’ve gotten more into social media. Writing posts does not necessarily come naturally to me, especially when I have a book to finish writing and publish, so I’ve actually been trying to fit more blogging and Facebook into my days.
    As for setting writing schedule, I usually end up doing some writing on my book late at night for a couple hours after work. It’s hard to find time otherwise.
    I like some of the advice you discuss here and might try applying some of it to my own writing life.
    Good luck on your novels.

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