This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work
Sometimes life feels overwhelming between work and family life. There’s so much to do, and I worry that I’ll forget something. And that worry is a distraction.
You see, our brains are good at generating ideas but terrible at remembering lists of information1. A To Do list gives me a place to record a list (or a list of lists!) of everything I need to do. Then I can stop worrying about stuff falling between the cracks, which allows me to focus on important things.
In addition, I feel good every time I cross something off my list. It’s that same feeling I get when I complete another level on Candy Crush.
I make a new To Do list each workday with a blue pen and legal pad. I know, my age is showing, but that works for me. You may prefer to keep track of things digitally. For example, I worked with a man who used several Trello boards, and that worked for him.
Take action: Make a To Do list, and then your brain can relax. Plus, you’ll get a small hit dopamine every time you cross something off.
“Getting Things Done” by David Allen ↩
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.”