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I can't focus

cpluta profile image Chris Pluta ・1 min read

There's been a lot going on in the world. However, whenever I try to sit down and work on something, I just end up getting distracted. I know what I need to do next. However, I just need to get through the hump to start gaining traction.

Normally I try to change rooms that I'm working in, or put some music on without lyrics. But over the past couple weeks it hasn't worked out entirely.

What works best for you that I can possible try myself? 😄


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Set some time each day to focus on your work/development, maybe an hour to start off. Pomodoro Timer is good for productivity, you work for about 25 minutes and then take a 5 minutes break: pomofocus.io/


I've heard of the technique but never applied it or really think about it until someone mentions it. At my previous software job someone wrote a script that threw a giant alert at them to stop working then he rested his eyes for 5 mins before going back to it. Thanks for the share!


Two approaches have worked well for me in the past. The first is giving myself a "no phone or computer" sort of day. Boredom is inevitable here, but going for walks and drawing, or writing or reading.. All sorts of things can occupy your time. The important part about this is that it's giving your brain the chance to rest. Getting distracted from work isn't going to let your brain recover the same as letting yourself have some time off and knowing you're gonna spend that time doing something other than work.

The second approach, if you need to get things done because of deadlines that can't possibly miss a day. Try just putting in as much as you can without testing it. There might be broken code or syntax errors, but it gets you past that blank page problem. I've done this sometimes by coding everything out away from a computer in the most broken syntax I've seen, and then just slapping everything in there. Then the problem becomes "how do I get this to work" instead of "what do I need to build".

Hope these ideas help :)


Oh, the second one is an interesting concept! I've done this at times, but not really intentionally. I need to get something down so I don't lose it so I just write some code, working or not, to fill the gap and come back to it later. Doing this intentionally to get over that "blank page" issue is brilliant!


I'm with Ryan about the second approach. Just doing things to do them, but not just slamming the keyboard and fix the bugs later.

In terms of the no phone/computer I feel like that may be easier said than done. 😄 I have a habit of moving from one computer to another once work is done, because it's time for fun time!... then sit and think too much about what I'm trying to do. 😜

However, I think it's something I definitely should consider and it seems like an effective strategy to help combat burnout.


Sometimes I find that scheduling a time to start forces me to get going on something. If I get a reminder or a calendar event or something that says "Do this thing" I tend to see it and act on it to clear it off my list. I will admit that sometimes I go to do the thing and get distracted like you said 😁


Calendar alerts are great! I would love a combination of zen mode/focus mode on my devices synced with my calendar blocks, but not sure if that's really possible


I think some phones might have some do not disturb modes that might be able to help facilitate that.

Yeah, you could probably set up DND to allow notifications from calendar through and only get noticeably pinged by the things that matter.


When you alert yourself, is it just an alert to get started or do you literally block off your night to focus on what you need to work on?


It's usually an alert to get started. "Do X" and then it's in my face/on my phone until I actually get started and clear the notification.


Hey Chris,

Feeling the same here. Definitely is taking me more time to get going and a lack of posting shows.

With trialing a new job, wisdom tooth just got pulled. Lockdown. Riots Yeh there's so much going on.

Thanks for the discussion. Hope you manage to focus :)


Life takes over sometimes, it happens with us all.

Good luck with the job and tooth!

And let's take every day to try and make the world a better place.


I try to start small. Give myself a goal of 10 minutes to finish a small goal, then work up from there. Focus is like a muscle and it needs to be exercised. Sam's app pomofocus looks like a great tool. I might check that out myself.


I'm with you in checking out Sam's app to see how that helps increase my productivity. 😄