A few tips to help you focus on your art in this distracting world!
Disclaimer: I originally wrote this to address artists with ADHD, but many of these tips are applicable for anyone who wishes to increase their focus / reduce distractions. I am not a mental health professional, just an artist hoping to give tips to people and answer questions to the best of my ability. Please go see a professional if you have any health concerns. Please take this advice with a grain of salt, but I hope it helps somebody!
Here are ways I think might help you focus, from personal experience n=1.
Before you want to draw, set up your stuff
You might want to do this the night before, even. This is kinda similar to how if you want to stay on track with exercise, lay out your clothes to prime your brain psychologically.
For long term focus, have a health routine
Being sleep deprived, not exercising regularly, or having poor nutrition can greatly interfere with your focus. Also try to have ways to reduce stress/anxiety. Personally, I like to doodle, read, run, or make a fun snack as ways to relax.
I would avoid endlessly scrolling on social media, but I am guilty of doing this all the time lmao.
Hungry? Thirsty? Have to go the bathroom?
Take care of that before you settle down to draw because that can kind of hamper your flow state once you get into it. I always feel better when I have had my coffee and am not constantly thinking about food.
Hide your phone, block the internet
If you need to, put your phone in another room so you aren’t even tempted to look at it. Out of sight can help it become out of mind too.
You may also be interested in getting an extension for blocking distracting websites. There’s many options for different platforms. For mac: https://selfcontrolapp.com and this comes up for windows: https://focusme.com
Set a timer for 20 mins and just go, then take a 5 min break
Sometimes the hardest part is just starting, honestly. The blank page is really intimidating. The pomodoro technique has helped me a lot and I recommend it because it makes the barrier to start seem less steep.
Just promise yourself like 20 mins of focus, and then you get a break.
Once you start feeling focused, you can extend the focus times to 25 min - 40 min or whatever feels comfortable. If you get extra zen out of ten, you might not even need a timer.
Try white noise or music, depending on your preferences/mood/vibe
Sometimes I get distracted listening to lyrics, but other times that’s kind of what I need to feel inspired. Depending on the day, I will put on spotify/youtube and then other days I will straight up listen to white noise mixed with rain on https://mynoise.net
Warm up with a piece of scratch paper
Sometimes I feel distracted when I feel like I can’t start. If it helps, try getting a sketchbook dedicated to very rough stuff to warm up, or simply printer paper. That might help ease you in so you won’t want to stop right away if you’re feeling a little rusty.
Don’t feel bad for taking breaks
Art can be mentally exhausting as it can be fun and relaxing. If I try to focus for too long, it doesn’t work out. I recommend taking breaks when you need to, because sometimes that actually helps your long term focus for the day and reduces your chances of being burnt out.