Ah Procrastination. My old friend. The quiet killer of time. We all do it from time to time. Finding things to do to occupy our minds while avoiding activities that would actually be productive.
So what do we do to keep focusing on what is important, and put the distractions aside?
1. Stay Alert
Staying focused on your goal can be tough. Sometimes when I try to focus on a task that doesn't tickle my fancy, I start to feel drowsy. There are numerous ways to combat this. Coffee, Mountain Dew, or any number of other caffinated beverages. I prefer water. Water helps you think, and provides a grand list of benefits almost as long as Santa's Naughty/Nice list. I also take Vitamin B 12 supplements when I feel sluggish about 1 or 2 times a week. It's one of the main ingredients in energy drinks like 5 Hour Energy. You might not notice a difference when you take it, but it provides loads of energy and helps you keep focus. It's not a miracle way to keep from falling asleep though. If you've been up for 56 hours straight then maybe you should take a nap, and try to be productive again when you wake up.
2. Put your toys away
It's easy to get distracted when your smartphone is buzzing with twitter updates every 10 seconds. That's about how often Miley Cyrus is doing something shocking now. She's gotta promote her new album somehow! Seriously.. You can catch up later on what kind of trouble Justin Bieber's two hoodlum friends are getting him into. This includes staying away from TV, that book you can't wait to read, or any other form of entertainment that may distract you. Put all of those distractions in another room if you have to. Out of sight, out of mind. Music is about the only exception, and that's only if you can avoid stopping mid-thought so you can sing along. Certain kinds of music can help you focus and be more productive. See what works for you and what doesn't. I'm currently listening to my Bruno Mars station on Pandora.
3. Grab a light snack
This doesn't mean you should get a big brownie, cover it in ice cream, and then add whipped cream and a cherry on top. You want something that will hold off the cravings, but won't distract you from what you are doing. A bowl of nuts, potato chips, or popcorn would work. My current favorites are the Special K Butter Flavored Popcorn Chips and this lightly salted garlic butter popcorn by Orville Redenbacher. I'm currently grabbing one or two pieces of the garlic popcorn here and there. Neither are good enough to make me stop writing and gobble down as much as I can, but they keep any cravings away while being light enough not to ruin my dinner later. When you eat something it can provide an energy boost that keeps you going.
4. Stay glued to your seat
You aren't going to get much done if you are constantly getting up. Neccessities are exempt from this like going to the bathroom, refilling your glass of water, running from Godzilla, etc.. Try to stay sitting in an upright position with your current project in front of you. If you are stuck there then you might as well be productive! It's also kinda hard to write when you're standing on your head, so stop trying that. It doesn't work. Trust me.
5. Get pumped up!
Remember why you got into this spot in the first place. There is usually a good reason to get excited about getting through the tedious parts of a project. If you can't think of one then make one up! Give yourself an incentive to get through this moment. Sometimes an impending reward will give you the motivation to get through. Getting back to the toys you put away earlier is sometimes enough, but when it isn't you need to treat yourself to something you don't usually have. You have to motivate youself to get through to the other side. The more excited you can make yourself to see the other side can sometimes dictate how quickly you reach that end. Now that I'm done with this post I'm going to reward myself with the joy of playing with a cuddly puppy who has been nudging my closed door.