Ever been working on a project and your interest and attention begins to drift? It’s because you need to anchor your focus and productivity to prevent yourself from being swept away on the tides of distraction.
Even though I am a firm believer in the fact projects are never “really” completed because you can always find something to improve and there’s never enough time to tweak everything you want to change, it is necessary to find an agreeable place to stop work on a project in order to put it out in the world (you can always go back and work on it at a later date!).
If you can anchor your project to a fixed object you will find it easier to focus your attention and be more productive
Deadlines make great anchors because they are a fixed date and time that a project is due. This means you need to concentrate on the task at hand in order to complete the project on time. The problem is, many people (yours truly included!) like to push deadlines to the limit and usually end up having to pull an all-nighter in order to get the project completed and meet the deadline.
Payment Penalty Anchor
There are several websites and apps where you basically bet money that you will accomplish a goal or meet a deadline, and if you miss the deadline you literally have to “pay the price” and your credit card is charged a pre-determined dollar amount as your penalty. One of the more successful versions of these tools is StickK. The cool thing about StickK is that you get to choose where your money goes if you lose your bet. You can be altruistic and make a donation to a worthy non-profit — or you can make the loss really hurt and send the money as a donation to a rival political party, etc.
Try using several smaller anchors as an alternative to using just one big scary anchor like a deadline or penalty payment. The Pomodoro Technique is a series of timed focus work sprints and recovery breaks spread across your workday. You anchor your work to the 15-20 minute productivity timers, and you ease off the gas during the 5-10 minute rest periods. There are mobile apps and some desk toys to help make the process fun.
Whichever anchor method you decide to use, follow it reliably for the best results and soon you’ll have your focus and productivity back in ship-shape fashion in no time at all!