There's always something there to re-blind me.
Yes I said that right, re-blind. Distract me. Paralyze my productivity. Throw me off course. From what I hear this happens others as well.
So I've compiled a list of everyday things I do that help me get on task and hopefully help you too.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast.
Fuel up for the fun day ahead of you and stop distracting noises coming from your stomach before they happen. Give your body a jump start. Breakfast really is more important than you think. And if you say well I'm trying to lose weight, all the more reason to eat breakfast (there's scientific reasoning behind that).
Tim Ferriss author of the 4 Hour Work Week also recommends eating a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up (read my post about what he's taught me)
2. Go for a walk (or bike ride, or car ride).
Something to get outside, get fresh air, see something different from a different place (not in front of your screen), and clear your head. Exercise in general is good to wake up your body and burn some energy so your not too tired at your desk, nor are you overly antsy.
I go for two walks a day, one in the morning after breakfast (also recommended by Tim) and one at night ending roughly an hour before I go to bed.
3. Chew gum
Chewing gum calms the nerves and helps us to focus our flow. This partially works for primal reasons. I learned from my Speech instructor that chewing gum, or anything really, tells the body and brain that it is under no threat. For example, why would you be eating if you were about to be attacked?
4. Read (best choice is a book with paper in it)
This sounds like a distraction, but is quite the contrary. Reading is an escape for many people and for me its a way of focusing. I used to have an overactive mind and sometimes it tries coming back. Nothing a little reading can't fix. Reading a book is much different than reading an article online. Reading an article turns into reading two articles, then three and so on. The topic and focus keeps on changing, not to mention distractions on your computer, or other device.
Reading a paper book helps you disconnect from technology, mental noise and distraction. It gets your train of thought on a singular, focused track. And focus is the key to getting back to productiveness (yes, its a word).
5. Set timers (hear me out, please don't rip my head off)
Being on task and being busy are very different things. We shouldn't be working for work's sake, rather working on specific tasks to accomplish specific goals.
Here's what to do: set your timer to work (Business Insider says prime time is 52 minutes, I do 57). Set your intention and what you specifically want to accomplish in that time. Then do it. Afterwards take a break and set the timer (BI says 17 minutes, I do 14). During your "relax" time, really relax. Get away from your desk, move around, do whatever works for you. This way you know when you're 'allowed' to be distracted.
Here's why it works: pareto's principle (aka 80-20 rule). 80% of production output comes from 20% of the input. By setting an intention, being specific, and defining what outcome you want and when you want it, you begin to only do what is necessary to get that outcome. You eliminate the extra baggage.
Remember a time when you didn't make progress on a project, but the day before or even hours before you knocked out all of the work? That's what I'm talking about accomplishing that without procrastinating first.
6. Bonus (what works for me at my home office)
CLEANING and ORGANIZING.
If I hit a major road block or creative pothole I clean my room. I do laundry. I organize my desk. Tasks I ordinarily would put off. This helps me to improve my surrounding, free myself from clutter, organize my thoughts, and appreciate the work I'm doing. This is sort of like punching a distraction in the nose rather than avoiding it.
What's on your list for staying on task, improving productivity, and preventing road blocks before they pop up?