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I am having the hardest time getting focused some days and I like what I do but just liking is not enough to keep the steam going. Sometimes the usual methods work but some days nothing seems to help and I'm not focusing on the task in front of me.

I've tried: daily task lists, project plans, Pomodoro, putting things in front of myself on a white board

Most of the difficulties is due to roadblocks - like I don't know how to solve a given problem and I don't know the consequences with some of the ideas I want to try. (Working on a live system). There's very little support - I have to teach myself how to do things & research the web.

I thought just giving myself time and staring at the screen would help, but there are times when this just lasts too long and I'm not getting anywhere.

Should I just give myself a break? Or is there more that I can do to get through it.

Note: I have not tried mind maps.

Also sometimes personal life is a huge distraction.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

To be successful with task lists, make sure you break down work into small enough pieces. If you end up losing focus because of roadblocks, perhaps your task is too big? In GTD speak, your tasks, or "next actions", should be things you can actually do. You may also consider not thinking of your task lists as "daily" - if you don't do the tasks you are going to feel less productive and increase the risk of procrastination. Breaking things down into smaller chunks makes it easier to make progress even when you wander off and think about other things.

If you have roadblocks that seem to come back and haunt you, try to find a permanent solution to them. For example, you mention having to work in a live system. What steps would you have to make in order to setup a test system?

If you face problems where you want to brainstorm or get "the whole picture", do try mind maps. (There are some excellent free software for mind maps, I personally use xmind.)

Take a break! Actually, take breaks in regular intervals throughout the day :-) It often helps me to take a walk, get some fresh air -- or, a cup of coffee -- when I have things on my mind.

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