How to Find Focus in Summer

bruno-gomiero-94171It’s officially summer! We finally made it you guys! The East Coast is hot enough to go for a swim and it’s time to attend barbecues, head to the beach, and have a few too many cocktails on a rooftop somewhere…

But wait! How are we going to maintain focus on all our projects? How am I supposed to sit inside on a beautiful sunny day typing on my laptop instead of enjoying the weather? Every year I ask myself the exact same question and every year I struggle. It’s not easy to be productive in the summer and it’s especially hard when your projects keep you indoors and alone (like writing does).

I’ve given it some extra thought this year and here’s how I will be keeping my balance while still enjoying myself for #Summer17.

  1. I will make socializing part of my program. For months… okay maybe even years, I’ve been telling myself that I will start to build my community and that by building my community I will become a stronger writer. This is probably all true but I still haven’t made any strong moves to do so. I sign-up for meetups and I read about them and I calendar readings and I never go. I have a lot of mental blocks when it comes to combining writing into a social life.

    This summer I am going to socialize with other writers. And actually attend all the things I’ve always imagined myself attending. I will focus more of my social life on a writing life. It’s a killing-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of tactic. Instead of going out for a happy hour, I will go mingle with new people and other writers. It will be really, really hard for me at first. But I imagine it will be like anything worth doing: terrible at first, but then one of my favorite things to do.

  2. I will take more breaks than usual. Once I get going, it’s hard to tear me away from my laptop. I want to finish everything and get to the next thing without really savoring a full day of writing. This summer I will increase my blocked writing time, but take more breaks to walk outside, get a little fresh air, and visualize the next chunk of working time. Not only do I think this will be a great way to keep me from getting cabin fever on nice days, but I also think it will do a lot for my writing by keeping my head clear and providing me with fresh prospective.
  3. I will stick to a schedule. A brilliant thing I started doing and then promptly stopped doing because I was traveling all the time and losing my mind, was setting weekly hour goals for how much work I was getting done. Instead of setting a goal like “Write Every Day”, I would set a goal for the week like “6 Hours of Total Writing.” I am going to adopt this same idea for summer. This way, I can crank out several hours of writing on a rainy day, or a slow social day, and have free days to just enjoy myself. Chances are I’ll get a lot more done than just “Write Today” type goals. They really do not work well for me.
  4. I will use downtime wisely. If I do have time off from my writing work I’ll make sure I am doing exactly what I wished I had been doing when I was writing. If I wished I was going for a run instead of editing a paragraph for the 100th time, than I’ll make sure to spend my downtime running, instead of just getting lost in an Instagram feed or boozing it up at brunch. I have to remember exactly what it is I wanted and then give that to myself later when I have the time.
  5. I will pick less time consuming activities. Instead of going away every weekend or taking long vacations away from my work, I will spend this summer being low-key. I will go to the beach for a day, I will spend time walking my dog, I will exercise outdoors and attend local barbecues with friends instead of going away. By staying local and keeping my outdoor activities small, I am freeing up time I would otherwise spend in a car or time spent recovering from a long journey.

I am hoping that these 5 goals will provide me with a successful but also enjoyable summer and will also inspire you to be mindful of how you spend your time and who you are spending it with. I may be a writer but I am extremely social, which makes it hard sometimes to buckle down and get work done. If you’re like me, then setting some guidelines for yourself will help you to achieve what you’d like to rather than feel regret when the fall rolls around.

Please feel free to use my guidelines here for yourself or come up with your own! If you do create you’re own, I’d love to hear all about it. Let’s knowledge share!

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