What I did yesterday to focus.

Yesterday’s post Slow Down. Focus. was a pretty big hit. At least that is what my analytics tell me today. So, I thought I’d share what I did to help me focus yesterday and that I have a plan to go even further with it today.

Single task app management was the key to my success yesterday. For years my computer’s desktop has been riddled with windows from every application that I have open. While I’m writing this blog post, as an example, I’d normally have my iTunes window on my right-hand screen while having my browser window, my iChat and Skype windows, and perhaps even more windows open on my left-hand screen. I’d gotten used to focusing my eyes on the window in which I’m working but every so often a new IM would come in or the album art would change in iTunes or Echofon’s icon would bounce in the Dock. Inevitably those types of things would pull me away from whatever I was doing to address them. Knocking my focus.

But not yesterday. For the most part I was able to keep only one application in view at a time while I was using it. Mac OS X’s “Hide Others” command came in very, very handy. I’d like to think this tactic worked pretty well too as I managed to get more done yesterday than I’m used to. Or, at least it felt like I did because I was able to finish things.

Today I’m going to take it one step further in an effort to finish more things instead of simply starting them. Today I’m going to continue this app-centric focus while adding to it a topical focus. I’m sure that makes no sense whatsoever. What I mean is that instead of switching from one topic to the next I’m going to strive to stay on one single topic until I’ve either completed it or I simply need to move on.

This blog post is a good example of what I’m going to do today. Normally it would take me three or four visits to my WordPress Dashboard to write this post. I’d scribble down some thoughts, go do something else, flesh out those thoughts, reply to an IM, plop in the needed links, work on some code for work, edit the post for grammar or spelling, see what is happening on Twitter, and then ultimately return to publish the post. Seem familiar to the way you’re doing things?

Well, today I’m going to simply stick to something until I am finished with it or have to move on until I have more information. As an example I have a coding project due for work that I seemingly always get pulled away from. I’m going to simply get it done without responding to any emails, IMs, Twitters, etc. Then, when that is done, I have a blog post that I need to finish for the Viddler blog. I’ve started it three times and have never published it. Today I will.

I don’t know how this will work out and I’m sure people that are trying to get in contact with me via IM or TXT might end up asking where I am – but hopefully I’ll return their message within a reasonable time frame and, in fact, be able to focus on whatever they need from me better than I would have otherwise.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh, and I finished this blog post without being distracted once. :)