3 Effective Ways to Keep You Focused as a Creator

Away with the Phone!

Put your phone away. Far away.

Not in your pocket.

Not on your desk.

In a draweraway from you.


You should be able to tell if you’ve got an emergency call coming in, but past that, aim to be completely oblivious to every other kind of notification flowing into your smart device.

If you use a time management technique like Pomodoro (there are plenty of timers and apps in the app store to keep you on track with this strategy), you get 5 minutes every half hour to pause from making awesome stuff. Use that time to get up, stretch, and, if you must, check your phone.

Being able to easily reach my phone is a huge, huge productivity killer.

I’ve started putting it in a drawer with the ringer on at a reasonable volume level so as not to miss an emergency. Life has been much more productive since.

Music to Code By

Putting your phone away minimizes physical distractions from your environment.

Music to Code By minimizes mental distractions and keeps you focused.

Don’t be mislead by the title. It’s not just for programmers!

If you need to write, organize, or just think in general, I highly recommend this invaluable resource.

The problem I always have with music when it comes to productivity is that…

  • The music has words and I wanna sing! (sorry, teammates)
  • The music is too mellow and causes me to want to sleep.
  • The music is too up-beat or interesting… interesting enough to distract me.

Music to Code By is literally the Goldilocks of music for concentration purposes. No words. Not too slow. Not too fast or “interesting”. Just right.

I bought the original 3 tracks, and it’s been the best $18 I’ve spent to improve my focus.

I know what you’re thinking: I have to spend money??!

Well, you’d spend money to buy a hammer or a saw if you needed to build something, wouldn’t you?

You’d drop a few dollars on an app if you knew it’d be worth it for the job you needed it to do, right?

Think of Music to Code By as a tool for your brain’s focus… a “clamp” if you will, to keep you riveted on what you need to accomplish.

If you can’t afford $20 right now, can you afford $10? Save for two months and then buy it!

I haven’t encountered any other tool apart from these sound tracks that I can spend dollars on that keeps me focused.

Full disclosure: No one paid me to say all that. I’ve really just been that impacted by the product that I couldn’t keep from commending it to you.

Keep a Text Editor Window Open (but minimized)

Whenever a distracting thought comes to mind, open the text editor and jot down the thought.

“Oh! I’ve got to remember to call ___”…

  • Open Text editor window –>
  • Type “I’ve got to call ___” –>
  • Minimize –>
  • Back to making great things!

“Blog post idea!”…

  • Open Text editor window –>
  • Type “[Blog post idea]” –>
  • Minimize –>
  • Continue that awesome project!

Always have a text editor window open and ready to record whatever your random ramblings may be. Your mind can effectively “let go” because you just preserved what it alerted you to in the text file.

Don’t keep the window on the screen all the time though. You’ll be tempted to glance over at it too often. Jot down the thought and then minimize it.

Oh. And be sure to save the file. :]

What do you do?

These are my top three right now. What do you do to keep focused on what matters?

Sound off in the comments – I’d love to hear your productivity hacks!

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