5 Things To Do When You Just Can’t Concentrate

It’s Friday night, I’m sitting home alone (by choice”I had a bunch of work that I promised myself I was going to get done, yet here we are) and I’ve been staring at a blank word doc for an hour unable to concentrate on one topic. Who am I kidding? The word doc has been open with the stupid blinky cursor thingy mocking me while I watch Gilmore Girls (the episode where Rory gives Logan the cold shoulder because he maybe-maybe-not cheated on her when they were on a break), constantly waking up my sleeping laptop, which has effectively told me Give up, the words aren’t coming tonight, kid. I’ve started stories and deleted stories and re-started stories and the words. just. aren’t. there.

So, the words aren’t coming tonight, what do I do? When you work in a creative industry and write stuff that people (hi, mom!) occasionally read on the world wide web, the words not coming is bad for business. So how do you beat that? What do you do when focusing is as far off as that $44-mill jackpot? Start with everything you’ve been putting off for way too long. It’s no secret that seemingly mindless tasks allow your brain to chill and allow some room for inspiration to hit, so get working on the below, but keep a notebook handy for when the ideas start flowing.

Clean your makeup brushes

Considering I write about beauty for a living, I am TERRIBLE at cleaning my makeup brushes on a regular basis. Granted, I have two sets (the point was to always have a clean set, yet I always seem to be washing both at the same time), but considering most makeup artists recommend you wash your brushes once a week (who has the time for that?), multiply that by like at least four our five (okay, like eight) and we’re more in line with how frequently I do it. So, tonight, the brushes get washed.

Organize your closet/pantry/makeup (anything)

You’ve been meaning to do it for months. There are clothes hanging up that haven’t fit you in years and you know you’re past being able to fit into those jeans that are literally eight years old, so, time to purge. Beat the spring cleaning thing and get it done now. Try stuff on, re-fold stuff in your drawers and just generally have a closet purge. After you’re done that, move over to the bookshelf, because you know you’re never going to read The Devil Wears Prada again when the movie is on, like, every other weekend. Then move onto your bathroom drawer/shelf/box of broken beauty product dreams (we all have one) and your pantry”whatever needs the most work, just clean it out and your mind will feel 10 times lighter.

Get some exercise

We’re a week into the New Year and maybe you’ve been working out diligently or maybe you’ve been hiding from the gyms and studios, waiting for the resolution crowd to leave so everything can go back to a tolerable level of busy (me), but getting your sweat on really will clear your mind (no, it’s true!). Hit the treadmill or go get some air for a bit and then come back with a de-fuzzed brain.

Cook or bake something in bulk to freeze for last-minute snacks and meals

You know those days when you’re so busy you have zero time to make anything decent to eat, so the only alternative is ordering pizza and you kick yourself because somehow you actually made it to the gym that day? Yeah, I have those all the time. You tell yourself you’re going to make things and freeze them for situations exactly like this, so, while you’re staring at a blank screen while listening to Luke totally crash his 12-year-old daughter’s gab-fest with her friends, go bake some muffins for quick on-the-go snacks.

Try again tomorrow

Wait, what? I thought you were going to provide me with some profound tips on how to find inspiration and get my stuff done! Yes, I know. But after four years of freelancing and working a variety of writing jobs, sometimes trying to force the words out makes it worse. Call it a night and start fresh in the morning.

And, hey, if the words still aren’t there, at least your place will be hella clean and you’ll have some yummy snacks to eat.

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