This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work
A reader wrote,
I’m stuck. I need to finish a feature for an app I’m building, but I keep spending time researching stuff that doesn’t matter. How do I stop?
First things first, your question suggests that you’re feeling stuck and/or unmotivated. Consequently, your endless researching is a coping mechanism. Your subconscious is searching for distractions.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Remember that tomorrow will look just like today. Fill it with distractions and you’ll do the same tomorrow. And the next day.
- Spend a maximum of 10 minutes writing a plan to complete the app. Where there are gaps, do the simplest thing.
- Make a list of all the questions you have. Write down everything that feels uncertain or questionable. Then get answers.
- Spend 25 minutes working on your app and then take a break. Or just 10 minutes. Practice perseverance and grit.
- Boost your motivation. Write down three benefits of completing your app and the three worst things that will happen if you never finish it.
I hope that helps!
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.”