This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work
Taking on extra responsibility has been a distraction for me. It all starts when I feel stuck on a project for work. Feeling stuck is awful, and my brain urges me to find something else to make progress on. As a result, I volunteer for an additional project or non-critical task.
You can guess what happens next. I dive headlong into this other task, complete it, and satisfy my brain. Meanwhile, the original project—the one I’m stuck on—languishes. Then I’m back at square-one, hunting for another trivial thing to work on.
This is dumb.
Nowadays, I ask myself, Am I stuck and looking for something else to do?
I know this goes against the grain of “always do more.” But part of “work smarter not harder” is saying No to non-essential work.
Take action: Before you volunteer for extra work, pause and ask, Am I stuck and looking for something else to do?
Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work
Practices: Just Say No
- Just say No
- Stop Looking For Drama
- Beware Of Taking On Extra Responsibility
- Make an “I won’t do” list
Practices: Say Yes
- Track your distractions
- Stay focused with a To Do list
- Make a “Big Rock” list
- Follow the 2-minute rule
- Try the Pomodoro Technique
- Make a list of questions
Practices: Control Your Physical Environment
- Find your Den of Productivity
- Eliminate distracting belongings
- Limit disruptive noise
- Listen to music
- Silence your phone
Practices: Control Your Digital Environment
- Close your email
- Leave social media
- Close your browser tabs
- Limit distractions from Slack
- Try an app blocker
Practices: Get Organized
What do books say about distraction free work?
“You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas — or you can cheat by reading them in books.”