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

My “I won’t do” list1 keeps me focused during the workday. Items on the list fall into three categories:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Topics that push me into a negative state
  3. Things that should wait until the evening or the next day

So, my list has the following:

  1. I won’t check what’s new on Netflix until after dinner
  2. I won’t read the news and hear about Trump’s latest antics
  3. I won’t update my phone’s OS until Saturday

Keeping an “I won’t do” list keeps me focused and productive.

Take action: Brainstorm which activities distract you during the workday and add them to your “I won’t do” list.


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