For regular readers of this blog you know this is a period of transition for me, after getting laid off I’m out looking for a job, working part time, blogging and networking. I have very busy days but on the days I’m less busy I find myself fighting the distractions coming at me from every direction: Twitter, Facebook, the web, and TV to name a few.
What can we do to fight daily distractions? A few suggestions that do not require much willpower:
- Shut off all notifications. Email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. If you have a smart phone learn how to shut off notifications on that as well
- Set aside time to check your social media sites and do not check them any other time. This gives you concentrated time to check social media but prevents the distraction of leaving those sites open all day.
- Purchase a program to block the internet or certain parts of it allowing you to focus on your work:
- Freedom – you get five free trials with this, after that it is $10. This program shuts down your computers networking for up to eight hours, allowing you to work without internet distractions.
- Anti-Social – made by the same makers of the Freedom program, this only shuts down social components of the internet such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and your email.
My last suggestion requires dedicated will power and practice. It is the practice of focus. There is a growing consensus that multi-tasking is really not good for you (I’ve blogged about this before). By practicing focus, I have found that I write better, I am less stressed out and have richer interactions with people. A couple examples of how I practice focus:
- As much as possible, when I am on the phone I am only on the phone talking with that person, I don’t tweet, play video games, wash dishes, or respond to IM.
- I take time to read without distraction – this means no TV playing in the background.
- I have turned off all notifications on my iPhone, no mention of me on Twitter will interrupt movie night again
These are just a couple examples of how I try to stop myself from leaping at the shiny objects in life. I don’t know that my personal method of practiced focus is based on any kind of science but it works for me. What about you? What do you do to stop distractions?