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

One way I limit distractions is by listening to music, which makes me feel good. When I feel good, I’m far more likely to stay focused on the task at hand.

I mostly listen to classical music or movie soundtracks. Favorite soundtracks include:

  • Inception
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Titanic
  • V for Vendetta
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Braveheart
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • 7 Years in Tibet

I also experimented with pipe organ and flamenco guitar music.

Take action: Figure out what kinds of music boost your emotional state and help you stay focused. Note: some readers find that all music distracts them. They work best without music, and that’s ok.

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