This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

Every year productivity gurus unveil new “productivity systems.” If you just buy their book or attend the seminar, you can learn the secret to doing more stuff in less time. They’re certified schedule crammers™.

This is silly. You don’t need a new productivity system. You need to say No to more stuff. Take things off your plate, and life will stop feeling overwhelming.

Easier said than done, I know. Especially for recovering people pleasers like myself. But it can be done. And it’s worth it.

Take action: Brainstorm two things that you’re supposed to do this month that you really should say No to. And then say No to them.

Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

Common Problems

  1. How Do I Stop Endlessly Researching Topics And Get Stuff Done?


  1. We Want To Be Distracted
  2. Proximity Matters

Practices: Just Say No

  1. Just say No
  2. Stop Looking For Drama
  3. Beware Of Taking On Extra Responsibility
  4. Make an “I won’t do” list

Practices: Say Yes

  1. Track your distractions
  2. Stay focused with a To Do list
  3. Make a “Big Rock” list
  4. Follow the 2-minute rule
  5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
  6. Make a list of questions

Practices: Control Your Physical Environment

  1. Find your Den of Productivity
  2. Eliminate distracting belongings
  3. Limit disruptive noise
  4. Listen to music
  5. Silence your phone

Practices: Control Your Digital Environment

  1. Close your email
  2. Leave social media
  3. Close your browser tabs
  4. Limit distractions from Slack
  5. Try an app blocker

Practices: Get Organized

  1. Make project documents

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.”
Patrick Collison

  1. “The Obstacle Is the Way” on handling distractions
  2. “The 4-Hour Workweek” on eliminating distractions