3 Tools to Help You Focus Better

Say goodbye to distractions with these tools to help you focus better

I looked up from my phone and was stunned as I realised I had wasted 24 minutes reading random sites on the web – AGAIN!! Aarrghh!

If you’ve ever had this experience with the internet, Instagram, Tik Tok or {name your distraction} here, then this post is for you. Today, I’ll be sharing 3 tools that will help you focus better so that those distractions aren’t as much of a pull.

1. Use a paper task list

It’s probably no surprise that, here at Paper Me Pretty, we recommend using a paper task list. But here’s the reason why this incredibly simple tool will help you to focus.

Firstly, as a physical item, you won’t ever be distracted by a “ping” or vibration notification from it. There’s no possibility of getting lost down some “scrolling rabbit-hole” with a paper task list.

But another reason why this tool is vital is because when you write down your task or goal on paper, it increases your ability to achieve that goal by 42%!! I’m not making that up. There’s a clinical study on it.

Our brains connect differently to the things we physically write. The action of writing causes our brains to connect with the object of what we’ve written in a unique way. It both solidifies our resolve to accomplish our goal and it clarifies our action in our minds.

If you haven’t started using a daily paper task list, then I highly encourage you to start!

Pretty & Practical

Our Daily Planner page allows you to see your top priorities and other tasks you might want to do during the day.

And there’s also space to plan out your day. This is so important because “what get’s scheduled, gets done!”.

Plus, there’s also a handy notes section for doodling or capturing those genius brain waves! Get this item and many more inside our stationery club!

2. Use a timer

If you’re someone who cringes at the thought of being supervised, boxed in or held accountable, then the thought of using a timer might create an “absolutely no” response. But hear me out.

As a professional jazz musician, I’ve got creativity, randomness and spontaneity baked into my core. And yet, I’ve found that using a timer whilst I’m doing “must-focus-on-this” tasks, I’m able to accomplish a lot more.

Using a timer helps to focus your attention for short periods of time. And that’s what I recommend. Use a timer in short spurts. I don’t think you should have a timer going for eight hours of your day. But I’ve found that it works best when you want to knuckle down and churn out stuff in smaller blocks of time.

The Pomodoro method is a timer method that suggests you do concentrated work for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break.

I don’t take that as a hard and fast rule myself. That’s because I’ve found that my brain gets into a creative flow state after about 20 minutes and if I stop just after that, it’ll take me another 20 minutes to get back to that flow state. Instead, I’ve found that I can work for about 50 minutes or so before my brain needs to come up for air.

Do what works best for you. If you have a really short attention span, then you might find that the shorter intervals work. But at any rate, try using a timer if you haven’t done so before. It will seriously change the way you approach intense focused work time!

3. Use a music playlist to help you focus

The creation of focused music playlists is a relatively new addition to the productivity scene. I mean, we had to have Spotify and Amazon Music before playlists could even really be “a thing”.

But since the advent of playlists, focused music playlists have boomed. And the reason is that it has been found that we can often be more productive when we have non-intrusive background noise in our environments.

This is the reason many people find it easier to work in an environment where other people are typing away on their computers around them.

The key here is to have background noise that’s non-intrusive. Everyone’s different. And some people can work better with Mozart whilst others find that classical music puts their brains to sleep! Some people enjoy Lo-Fi music which has a beat and can be non-intrusive.

For myself, I’ve found that as long as it doesn’t have any singing in it, I’m fine! As soon as my ears hear a voice, my ears immediately prick up to listen and I’m instantly pulled away from my task!

Use what works for you! Experiment and find the music that helps you focus the most, and then maybe create your own playlist of your favourite tunes!

I hope these tools will help you increase your focus so that any distractions won’t be so much of a pull. Let me know below which of these you liked best, or which one you might want to start using.

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3 Tools to Help You Focus Better

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17 Comments

  1. I do all of these! Except my list is often on my whiteboard instead of paper to try to reduce waste. But having a list, setting a timer for each thing, and having the right music makes me more efficient!

    1. A list on a whiteboard is fantastic. It’s really great for highly visual people (because you can’t miss it!). Love that!

  2. Great tips! I use all of the three tips you suggested here. I am so old fashioned too that I can’t live without writing things down!! Upbeat music also gets me motivated. Amazing at how something small can produce big results, right?!

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

  3. Amy Liu Dong says:

    Wow! These tools will definitely boost our focus and make us goal-oriented with efficiency. I’ll make this as a reference to help me to do more! Loved it!

  4. I’ve seen so many people use timers to get things done in vlogs and on Instagram lately. I haven’t tried it myself because I seem to have more time than I need but it looks very productive!

  5. Awesome tips! I started using a timer a couple of weeks ago, it really made a huge difference, I love it.

  6. Great list! Paper list task help me the most. there is something special to feel when you cross stuff out of your list. SO satisfying!

  7. This is helpful. Love the idea of using a timer and will get started ASAP. I have heard from friends that the Pomodoro technique is very effective so, will try that one out.

    1. Yes, it is! And to really boost your productivity with Pomodoro, I recommend having your task list in front of you and organised in order of 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. Otherwise it can be easy to day dream or get distracted even with a timer counting down!

  8. Thank you – awesome tips! I especially agree with the first tip. Writing stuff down really does help to make it happen.

  9. I’m definitely guilty of mindlessly scrolling when I should be working but next time I’m going to use these three steps to being more focused. Thank you so much for posting them!