How to avoid getting distracted?

48Tentacles

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I think I speak for all artists when I ask this question, and not just visual artists or musicians, but writers, programmers, developers... practically everyone in general. When you need to focus on your work, how do you avoid getting distracted? What methods do you use? Do you have tips?
 

Mr. Detective

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Ask the mods to ban your account, or your IP so you can't view the forum anymore. That's one less way to get distracted.
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Make an effort to not click on any other programs other than the one you are using to work (Photoshop, RPG Maker, etc.). Wanna listen to music? One tab for Youtube, and that's it. Another tab to search for help on Google. If you find yourself clicking on anything else, slap yourself.

I think most people get distracted by some other things to certain extent. It's a matter of how much. The less, the better.
 

barp

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  • drinking coffee right before starting
  • using a timer to record the time spent on this (helps me stay on task because i don't want that time to be inaccurate)
  • keeping most of this stuff on my computer and most recreational stuff on my phone
that's what helps for me.
 

Former_Sky

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Putting up some music. If you make a habit of listening to a particular genre while you work, it'll help more.
 

TeiRaven

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I second the use of Work Music--train your brain that when this music is on, it means you're working. (I've heard the same about chewing the same flavor of gum while studying and taking tests, though usually as an excuse for why someone was chewing gum in class XD)

I'd also recommend putting your phone on do not disturb, as well as any messengers you keep open. The siren song of the _blip blip blip_ new messages is hard to ignore.

I'm giving advice that I'm dreadful at taking, though, because I could probably get distracted if you put me in an empty room with only my game dev tools, haha. But the music thing really does work for me, I have "real job work" playlists and "game work" playlists. For writing, I prefer instrumentals (lest I type the words I'm hearing rather than the words I'm thinking) but for art, it varies.
 

NeptuneTron

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I have two ways that I keep myself focused:
1. Deadlines and blasting electronica music and/or Bach
2. Accountability from other people (ideally in person, or by livestreaming if you don't have people who are readily accessible).

Everybody is of course going to have different methods, but in general, I find those are generally pretty helpful for most circumstances. Oh yeah, I should mention these are my strategies for staying focused on basically everything I do, from Calculus homework to game dev and everything in between.

I do think it's important to also just sometimes let yourself explore and wander with creative projects, to keep the creative juices flowing, to try new things, and also to avoid creative burnout on projects. Sometimes, the best way to stay focused is to not focus too hard, and just see what you're feeling and mess around for a bit.
 

Johnny_Ray

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I listen to music and move my google taskbar shorcut as far as possible from my current used programs.
 

SigmaSuccour

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How to avoid getting distracted?

  1. Clear Unfinished businesses: Any task / work you have in your head, that you feel you HAVE to do, but are putting it to later. Get it done, right now, before you start working.
    This can be as little as apologizing to someone you recently had a fight with, cleaning your room.
    Or it can be as big as having an abandoned game project, that your brain keeps telling you to finish.

    Any and all 'unfinished businesses' remain as bits of distraction in the head. So clear them, before you start working.

  2. Dopamine Detox: Stop doing high-dopamine (fun) inducing things.
    After I stopped playing games, and stopped watching anime / movies. My focus and productivity has grown much higher.
    Previously, I would be working on my game, writing a story. And my brain would give me jolts of suggestions, for doing high-dopamine activities. (Like again, playing that game that everyone has been talking about, or watching that anime everyone keeps recommending.)
    After I did a complete dopamine detox, and stopped doing those things. I don't get tired with working on my thing. (Because... my brain doesn't tell me to do anything else. Game making related tasks are the most fun thing I do now. Game making produces most dopamine for me, from any other thing I do.)

  3. First, Most Important: I noticed that... the first thing I do when I wake up, for that day, becomes the most important thing for me.
    My brain keeps fixated on it for the rest of the day.
    It used to be school.
    It used to be job.
    Now... it's game making.
    I wake up, and with phone and internet off, I work on my game for at-least a few hours. (This is around 1-3 am, when I wake up.)

    Whenever I do this. My brain... all day long, remains fixated on working on my game, and thinking about my game.

    And that's what some of you may want.
    To let that one thing that YOU want to be doing, distract you from everything else.
    So when you are at your job. You want to get back to doing art. So that when you go get back to doing art, it's easy for you... because you've been wanting to be doing it so badly.

    So, wake up, and immediately spend an hour or more, on what you want to have easier time focusing on for the rest of the day.
    It HAS to be the very first thing you do. (You MUST NOT look at your phone, or check your social media. If you just take a peak, you've lost that day. Your focus will remain messed up. So try again, the next day.)

  4. Water Fast: Don't eat - stay hungry (drink lots of water though)
    This increases focus because... your mind thinks you need to be sharper, in order to acquire food. So the longer you stay hungry, the more and more sharper you get in the head. And it becomes easier and easier to focus.
    The only drawback is... you'll feel, and be a bit distracted by hunger.

    But in my experience, working while feeling hungry... has allowed me to produce better results, (and far easily) than working on a full stomach.

    So, stay hungry.
    Or in other words. The time you need the most focus, make sure it's furthest from the time you eat.
    This is usually, mornings.
    You eat dinner in the night, 2-3 hours later you sleep for 7-10 hours, then wake up and work on your thing. So there would be a good gap since you ate dinner. And so when you work in this period, it'll be easier to focus. Compared to working on something 1-2 hours after having a meal. (In which, you'll be sluggish.)

  5. Tell people who may disturb you, when you're working: People in my house know, that on Thursday, I'm absolutely not available... for anything. On Thursday I have to make my weekly RPG Maker News video. And it takes up... all of my day.
    So I have informed everyone around me, that on Thursday I can't spare any time, for anything.

    So if there's anything you want me to do on Thursday. Tell me before, or after.
    Because Thursday, is off-limits.

    If I get a call, and it's Thursday.
    I don't pick it up.

    If there are family guests in the house, and it's Thursday.
    I'll say hello, then lock my door, so I can get back to working.

  6. Never Multitask: unless you're doing something tedious. Like... me making a 256 x 256 map... which took me weeks! And was making me go insane!

    Generally, don't multitask.
    Keep one task at hand.

    Ideally, don't even listen to music while working.
    It's better to not be dependent on it for work. (I only listen to music now, to shut off the noise around me sometimes.)

  7. Distraction List: While working, if your brain tells you to do something... that is NOT related to what you're doing, or you want to be focusing on right now.
    Then add it to a list.
    And check back on this list when you're done with your work.

    This could be, checking your notifications on the RPG Maker web forums.
    Seeing if there's a new deal / sale going on, on your favorite online tech store.
    A thought that you haven't said hello to your neighbor in quite some time.
    Or it's been a while since you called your brother's ex to let her know "My brother hates you."

    You add all of them to a list, as they come and distract you during your work.
    Then after your work, whenever you find time.
    Go through the list, and see what's important, and clear them up.


That's all for now.
All the best.
And stay focused!
 
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ZombieKidzRule

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Here are some options that may be more applicable and beneficial based on your living and social environment. It also depends on you as a person. I know people who can sit in a crowded public place and still apply intense concentration on a task at hand. They have an ability to "tune out" everything else around them. I am definitely not that person...squirrel!

  • Eliminate sensory distractions. This could be everything that could be distracting from background noise, tv, music (if is is distracting), people talking, smells, uncomfortable work space, too comfortable work space, uncomfortable clothes, message alerts, etc.
  • Avoid multitasking. Most people aren't very good at it and some people think it is truly impossible to do correctly.
  • Eliminate social distractions. From significant others to roommates, children, animals, etc.
  • Eliminate basic need distractions. Eat and drink (not alcohol) before, have snacks and drinks at hand, go to the bathroom before starting (I am old), etc.
  • Resist the temptation to just do something else really quick, like check email, check a text, send an email or text, make a call, etc.
  • But...if something pops into your head and you won't be able to let it go until you take care of it, it would probably be best to do it OR start taking notes for yourself so you won't forget.
  • Have a plan for what you actually want to work on.
 

Avelon

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Sleep is definitely important. I find that whenever I'm tired, I'm prone to getting distracted more easily later on.

I also try to write a to-do list when I have a lot of things—it reminds me that I can't afford to get distracted too much or else I'll totally fail at something/mess up badly enough to regret it. Always good to look past the one task you're trying to focus on to really evaluate how many breaks you can take. Lists can overwhelm some people, but it works for me.
 

Trihan

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If you ever figure it out let me know what the secret is.
 

TheoAllen

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I find that the environment is the important part (and also the hardest part if there's none). Like, if everyone around you is hardworking, then you gonna follow the flow. When I wrote my undergraduate thesis, nothing more fitting than writing it in the library so I could focus. It was almost impossible to do it in-home or college gazebo since too many distractions.

It is not enough to just eliminate distraction since you gonna make one anyway. Make it so you don't dare to make your own distraction.
 

Conflictx3

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been working on my game for 4+ years but as i make the game, i write its book adaption, when I hit a wall in RPG maker, i type my life away in google docs, alternating between the two EXTREMELY slows down process on both but it keeps my locked into the overall project. works for me, highly don't reccomend
 

pawsplay

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I do get distracted. I just find reasons to keep coming back to my project.
 

barp

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this might go without saying, but: all of these tips are subjective, what works for one person might not work for another, etc. the most important thing is figuring out what works for you in particular. pay close attention to what conditions you function in. (and don't function in)
 

RachelTheSeeker

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Good question! Lemme know when you find out, I'd like to learn your secret.

Though not RPG Maker, I know I focus better when writing at the local library than at my desktop. Until I throw money toward a netbook dedicated to VX Ace though (I've been tempted >_>), it's also a matter of getting in the zone for me. Unplugging the modem, throwing on some tunes that fit what I'm working on, and keeping my eyes off the clock. When properly focused, I lose track of time. If something gets boring, swap to a different task if it helps. And remember, doing a little bit is better than no progress at all.

Also, game jams really light a fire under my rear. They force you to make time to work, to not obsess over assets and features, and to cut corners if you're taking too long. All of those are huge for me. They don't have to be contests, nor anything big really. I know RPG Maker Network runs them as "events" periodically throughout the year. It helps even more that the majority of those events have a theme, which gives one an idea of what to work with.
 

ZombieKidzRule

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One more thing popped into my head. This would be especially true if game making isn't your job, career, way of living. Instead, it is something you want to do, something you enjoy.

I have many competing interests and I have found that I go through cycles of what I call mini-addictions. I will get into writing and that is all I want to do. And when I am in that frame of mind, I churn out content. It just flows out of me to the point where I go back later and don't even remember writing most of it. And I certainly couldn't just recreate it if I my files got deleted.

The same is true with gaming, or modding a game, or reading, or learning something new, etc. I get super focused (read borderline obsessed) and that is all I want to do. These cycles can be days long, weeks long, months long, or even years long.

Now, as I have gotten older, I have gotten better at still prioritizing what is important. But my main point in this is that when I am not "in the zone" or in the midst of a mini-obsession, I can certainly force myself to make progress, but it is slow, unnatural, painful, and the quality isn't as good. It isn't enjoyable.

I have found that it is better for me to step back from whatever I think I need to do and allow myself to come back to it later. Now, that definitely won't work with tangible deadlines. But if you have flexibility, I think you will be happier and whatever you are doing will be better if you don't try to force something that you just aren't feeling.

Take it from an old person, life is too short to spend all your time doing things you don't like.

Now I will climb down off my advice on life soap box...I hope you find something in these responses that is helpful.
 
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Hi. Put your phone on silent or in "Do Not Disturb" mode, and close unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you need the Internet, keep one tab open. You can fight online distractions by blocking or hiding time-wasting websites and apps.
 

Ellenor

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I put on a alarm+ music
So I know I'm not "allowed" to stop until the alarm rings.
Sounds a bit harsh but if I don't do it I can end up at any site and waste time XD
 

alltheyuriz

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The only thing I do is I tend not to force myself to do it when I don't want to I get more distracted when I don't want to do something
 

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