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Look - A Distraction!! How To Stay Focused
When Everything Is Pulling You Away
December 28, 2017

By Joe Loesch
Voice Actor, Producer, Coach

It doesn't matter what kind of work you do: distraction can keep you from getting things done, whether it's electronic, internal or in person.     

Staying focused is not always easy to do - but success or failure hangs in the balance. Getting stuff done is imperative, and focus is the key.  

Here are 10 tips to help you stay focused and manage distraction:  

1. Self Examination

Internal distraction is as annoying as external distraction.

If you find that you're all over the place, first look within yourself. What is the source of your anxiety? What should you be working on?  

2. Identify The Cause … Fix The Effect

Sort out your internal priorities, and find those external causes.

Maybe it's your workspace setup? A dangling issue with a friend? Burnout? Ideas you haven't had time to work out yet? Perhaps something else you need to be doing?

Identify the cause and fix the effect.  

3. Preparation - The 10/1 Rule

Be a good planner. Create a list of your objectives.

Think about how you will complete each task that comes your way. Give yourself a timeline and write down all the steps (from beginning to end) it will take for completion.

Apply the 10/1 Rule: Every 10 minutes spent in planning saves an hour in execution.  

4. Go Offline

Social media, email, mobile phones and tablets can be a huge distraction. Go offline for a while. It won't kill you.

You'll be surprised by how much focus you will gain.

Then you can go back online to see what you've missed. Chances are, you won't miss anything at all.  

5. You Deserve a Break Today

You deserve a reward. Taking a break every now and then leads to great work. When distraction sets in, take a break. This will allow you to focus more clearly.

Short breaks allow your mind to have clearer vision.  

6. Tune In and Tune Out

Tune into music and tune out everything else.

When everything around you becomes distracting, non-obtrusive background music can help you focus. Preferably music with no lyrics. This can give you greater concentration.  

7. Break It Down

Break down large projects with smaller tasks, when distraction is high.

Small tasks will make large projects feel less intimidating. This will help you concentrate, plus you'll find your sense of accomplishment to be quite rewarding.

8. Clean Up!

What does your workspace look like? Is it disorganized, dirty or cluttered?

Spending a little time cleaning and clearing out your area will give you a greater sense of focus.

I work at home just like you. I clean up and get dressed for work at the same time every day like I'm headed for the office. This puts me on course for getting stuff done - ready for my mission each day.    

9. End in Sight

Once you sit down to complete a task, give yourself a time limit. When the amount of time you've given yourself is up, quit.

You will stay more focused when you know there is an end in sight.    

10. Early Bird Catches the Worm

I rise at 5:30 every work day. Sharing time with my wife before our day begins is a perfect way to begin my day.

While most people begin their work day at 9 am, I begin mine at 8 am. Try starting your workday an hour before anyone else. You can use that hour to get organized, clear your workspace, go through emails, and set tasks for your day.

Also avoid long lunches. Eat light. And allow time for a walk during your day.

All of this helps you create time and energy to get stuff done.    

Distractions will always be around. But you CAN avoid them!
Joe Loesch is a veteran voice actor, actor, narrator, producer, musician and voice over coach based in Nashville, who also leads the popular Voice Over Booth Camp workshops, often presented by VoiceOverXtra. (Look for Voice Over Booth Camp Online! - coming soon.) He has been the voice of many cartoon characters on the Disney Channel, narrates audiobooks for major publishers, and voices commercials for major national and regional brands. He also recorded and produced Dave Ramsey's Junior's Adventures audio CDs, and creates the MO-JOE Friday series of how-to videos, posted on VoiceOverXtra on the first and third Fridays of every month.

See MO-JOE Friday Videos
Voice Over Booth Camp:
Subscribe to 'Voice Over Booth Camp' YouTube Channel


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Comments (4)
Karen Ireland
7/14/2020 at 8:35 PM
Hi Joe. Excellent advice here that I can profit from. I have been recovering from surgery but when I’m back in the swing of things I will use these tips. Thanks!
1/6/2018 at 4:01 PM
Distractions are one of the main reasons people don't get VO jobs. They record the audition and get distracted and loose their train of thought. At least I do.
Conchita Congo
12/28/2017 at 10:03 AM
Fantastic article & right on time.
Thank you.
12/28/2017 at 7:42 AM
Greetings from the Heartland of Iowa. Enjoyed this blog. Great tips on sorting things out.

My latest blog touches on similar things.Having a vision is vital and it often gets blurry:

Best wishes of success for all the staff at VoiceOverXtra. You're a great community of support for all of us voicelings.
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