A common thing that the people I work with find to be difficult is focusing on the task which they are doing.
I teach them a strategy, which is based upon, the ‘Pomodore’ time management method and is tailor made for each person.
How do you feel? Are you feeling the best you can be ? Did you have breakfast and get ready for the day? Being in the best state of well being not only feels fabulous, it means there is less demand on your attention. Before you begin, take one action to make you feel more well. You could have a cuppa, eat breakfast or maybe have a short walk.
Get ready what you need. Stationery, diaries, computer fired up and ready to go are just a few examples. Email programs, mobile telephones and social media sites are great at claiming your attention. Do you have only the resources you need either on your computer or your work area?
You now have set the scene for success on your task. Here are five steps to focus:
- Write/type/sketch or draw your to do list. Gather your thoughts about what you need to do in electronic or paper format.
- Your list may be several tasks i.e. Email Andy, write report for Susan , buy milk etc or it may be splitting a larger task into more manageable chunks. This could be splitting up an essay into a plan, introduction, main body of an essay responding to a question and a conclusion.
Now which of these tasks is the most important? What deadlines do you have? What are the consequences of not doing that task? Is there a logical order to doing things i.e. you need to plan an essay before writing it. Knowing your priorities is key to achieving them with calm.
- Once you are set for success,with only what you require at your finger tips and you have your top priority task…..set a timer for 25 minutes and work solidly on that task. If you complete ahead of time, move to the next task on your list.
- When the timer goes off, take a break. Five minutes is fabulous! Move and stretch, drink some water or look out of the window.
- Repeat these steps until your to do list is where you would like it to be. After every fourth session of 25 minutes, take a longer break.
When you get tempted to open another application or to do something different….
“Is opening this application i.e. Email taking me closer to or further from completing this report”
If the answer is something like yes I need to check an email from my tutor, go for it. The answer is more likely to be no, as you have set up to work with all the resources that you need.
When you finish using something i.e. the internet for research, close that application down so that it is no longer a distraction.
Reward yourself: When the list is complete, call a friend, read a book for a short while or spend time just relaxing. Then when you look at the list, looking forward to the reward at the end can motivate you to achieve all your tasks.
A word of warning – many dyslexics actually find that their ability to get distracted is what sparks creativity. We hope that you use this technique to focus when you need or chose to. Don’t stop being your usual busy and distracted self all the time, that would be boring!