Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

More Thoughts About Distraction-Free Working

Distractions. They’re everywhere. Computers. Smartphones. Tablets. Games. The lure of the outdoors on a nice spring or summer day.

Distractions tempt us. They pull us away from what we should be doing, what we need to be doing. They sap our attention and focus. They make it harder to get things done.

I don’t know many people who can say that they’re always successful at fighting distractions. I know I’m not. There is a lot you can do to minimize or eliminate distractions.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to do that.

Go Full Screen

In some circles, going full screen is very trendy and has been for a while. In others, going full screen is met with scorn.

Going full screen isn’t for everyone. What a surprise there. But there are few better ways to eliminate as many distractions as you can.

Plus, going full screen is easy. There are a number of distraction-free editor out there, and with the tools that you use you can tools press F11 or hide the toolbars. Or both. If you work in a web browser, you have a near perfect distraction-free environment.

Turn Off Your Phone and Wifi

To some people, that suggestion is sacrilege. They think that they can’t live without a constant barrage of emails, text messages, and social media. They can.

By turning off, you’re eliminating temptation. Temptation to pick up your phone and scroll through your Twitter feed or Facebook messages or new posts on Instagram. Temptation to check your email or that news site.

Instead fighting that temptation, essentially dividing your energies between work and distraction, you can concentrate on what you need to do. You might even be able to get it done faster, which will give you a little more time to give into your temptations as a reward when you’re done.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management scheme developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and was named after a tomato-shaped timer that Cirillo used when he developed the technique.

To use the Technique, you break your work into 25-minute blocks called pomodoros. Each pomodoro is a a specific task. You focus on that and nothing else. If you finish before the 25 minutes is up, you don’t jump to another task. Instead, you stay with the current one and perform some related work. You focus on what you need to complete in each 25 minute block. You don’t worry about other things that you need to do. You don’t multitask.

It All Comes Down to You

You didn’t create the distractions. But it’s your job to resist them. Tools and techniques can help you do that.

In the end, whether or not you’re productive is up to you. It’s matter of your discipline. It’s a matter of your focus. It’s a matter of your desire to actually do what you need to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Combine your discipline and drive and focus with tools and techniques. You’ll have an unbeatable combination.

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