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Struggling to History Blog? Try these 7 Keys to Maintain your Focus

Do you struggle to maintain your focus or feel there’s not enough time for your history blog? First, don’t worry you’re not alone. But, second, maybe current methods aren’t working and it’s time to try some new ways to help to stay focussed.

Life is full of distractions. Some nice. Some not. But all of them are sucking away your time and, if you choose to, pulling you away from your history blog. This can leave you frustrated, unproductive and making less progress as a blogger than you deserve.

Here, I’m sharing seven keys for mastering your focus which have helped me from Rob Dial, a.k.a The Mindset Mentor. Rob’s my go-to podcast when I need a bit of motivation or help bringing structure back into my blogging. As he says:

“Everyone gets 24 hours in the day. That is why it is so important to learn how to focus, so that you can be as productive as you can with the time that you have.”

Rob Dial

Related Link: The top 15 history and motivational podcasts I’m hooked on right now

The 7 Keys to Maintain Your Focus

Key One – Stay away from your phone as long as possible.

I love mixin’ and minglin’ on social media but I noticed a surge in productivity when I switched off notifications.

Studies show if you look at your phone it is like an addiction. It releases dopamine and serotonin into your brain. If my phone pings I will look at it, and this could be over a hundred times a day, and if it’s not pinging I’m checking it anyway.

Now my relationship with social media is proactive not reactive. The morning is super important. By looking at your phone the day starts in reactive mode – checking Instagram, analytics or email. How long can you wait before you look at your phone? and, if you’re not looking at it what else could you be doing to better yourself or your blog?

Key Two – Prepare your brain

Don’t just shift from one thing to the next. This is a recipe for stress. Your brain needs to be calmer before you go into the next task. Take six deep breaths then get rid of any other distractions that will pull your brain away from what you need to focus on.

For example, I can’t work with clutter – it just reminds me of something else I need to do. So, I make sure where I’m working is clear including tabs open on my screen. Noise is also a no-no as are notifications on my computer. Have you ever made a list of distractions when you’re blogging? you may be surprised about what you need to eliminate.

Just taking a second to look at a notification can mean up to twenty minutes getting your focus back.

Key Three – stop multi-tasking it’s impossible for the human brain

It used to be a good thing to be a multitasker. It meant you were super efficient and could handle lots of things right? But, turns out our brain’s aren’t set up for this. If you’re trying to write a blog post and IG captions on a new topic at the same time, it will take you longer and be of less quality than if you did one at a time. If you’re writing a post be 100% in it, not 50% because you’re trying to multi-task.

Key Four – have a notepad to maintain your focus

If you get an idea write it down on a pen and paper. Keep it simple. If you try and do it electronically you may get distracted. I also make a list before I start working so ideas don’t pop up when I’m trying to focus. It could be anything. Buy birthday card. Get milk. Dial says you need to release these from your brain before you start to focus.

Key Five – always have headphones

Headphones mean people are less likely to interrupt you but you can also use music to tell your brain it’s time to focus.

The music also masks distractions like a noisy delivery van or next door chatting in their garden. I use uplifting classical music as it is emotionally neutral. Songs are a nightmare as I start writing the lyrics, singing along or it triggers memories.

Key Six – the pomodoro technique

This is a way of maintaining focus by using pockets of time for specific activity. I’ve done this for many years. Here’s how it works.

  • 25 mins pure focus on one task. If anything pops into your brain jot it down on a notepad
  • 5 mins rest.
  • 25 mins pure focus
  • 5 mins rest
  • 25 mins pure focus
  • 5 mins rest
  • 20 mins break

The pomodoro technique means within each 25 minutes you will be at your most effective. Then you’ll give your brain a rest and find it again in the next 25.

Key Seven – track your focus

Now this one’s hardcore but important for us creatives. Dial suggests rating your focus every hour and giving it a score of 1-10 for a week. Why? You will discover if there’s any time when you’re more or less focussed. Any patterns? Early morning? Afternoon? After gathering the data important tasks can be done when your mind is super sharp. I tail off (and reach for the coffee) between 2-4pm. I’ve learnt it’s pointless to record a video or start writing a new blog. I schedule these for 9:30-11:30am.

So, knowing we all have 24 hours in a day, what are you going to change to make each one of yours as productive as possible? You can find The Mindset Mentor on most podcast platforms. Below is a link to the episode on Spotify.

Elizabeth Hill-Scott

Elizabeth Hill-Scott teaches entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to start, grow and monetise a successful niche blog in the fascinating field of history. She is also a post-graduate and communications expert who spent over 15 years advising senior UK politicians and public figures.