Forced Environmental Focus

The world today is a minefield for distraction. You can’t last more than 3 minutes without something pulling your attention in another direction.

I have found that the more technology has become a part of my life, the less I am able to be truly productive. It’s like all the options I have available allow me to avoid actually picking one.

However, there is another distraction factor that we very often overlook: the environment we are in.

About a year ago, I accidentally discovered a new method for improving my focus when it came to my writing and my admin work.

I had just moved apartments, and due to a scheduling mistake, the internet connection wasn’t able to be installed for another week. This meant for the first time in almost 15 years I had no steady supply of wifi in my home office.

During the first two days I consumed almost my entire data plan on my phone. When the warnings came in that I was dangerously close to my data limit, I had to resort to another method.

On the third day, I took my laptop and headed down to my local coffee shop.

I started to ‘work’ from the coffee shop. I decided I’d just a head start on my emails and my social media. But once that was done, I decided to stick around another 30 minutes just to do a little writing.

To my amazement, I was able to zip through writing a whole article in that half hour. At the time I figured I was just in the zone.

But the next day, after doing my emails, I tried it again, and discovered that my writing ability was just as speedy. Not only that, I was able to think clearly and what I wrote was decent.

I soon realized what was making me so productive: I was sitting in a public place with other people able to see me. I was suddenly acting the part of doing work. This new environment was creating a forced focus.

I’d always wondered before why so many people are in coffee shops typing away. Now I understand. They are using the environment to their advantage.

When you are away from your home or office, there is very little chance of distraction, and you are also in public, so you ‘act the part’ of someone who is doing work.

I have since used this ‘forced environmental focus’ to get through many big projects. I set myself a two-hour time limit in a public place to work and to my amazement, I usually get a huge amount done as a result.

I know that this is a simple idea. Take your work and do it out in a public place. Big deal. Trust me: try it and you will discover it has value.

The environment you are in plays just as big of a distraction as anything else. By putting yourself in a forced environment, it gives you focus, accountability and control.

You’ll be amazed how much more you get done.


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5 thoughts on “Forced Environmental Focus

    1. Thanks Nicky, yes I agree. I have had that same experience as a speaker. Thank you for sharing my blog! I am so glad we are connected and can share this journey together 🙂 – DMS

  1. I do this from time to time and it was not until I just read your post that I understand why it works and that I need to do it more. I loved reading about how it’s about playing and acting the part. I never thought about this before in that way. I think I may have to make a coffee shop stop today and get some work done. Thanks, Daniel!

    1. Hey that’s great! Yes I do think the environment and the people in it play a big part. If the coffee shop was as deserted as your home or a private office, then you’d probably mess around just as much! Thanks for sharing 🙂 – DMS

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