This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work
When I was a kid, my family had a weekly ritual. Every Friday, we’d get two pizzas from Little Caesars and watch TGIF as we stuffed our faces. I thought pizza was the greatest food imaginable and looked forward to our Friday tradition.
On Saturday, I’d inhale any leftover pizza. I always wanted more but was told it was a “once in a while treat.” And it was until I went to college.
Freshman year presented me with a novel situation: I was in charge of buying all my food, and everything was within walking distance of my dorm. I could have pizza, candy, and soda whenever I wanted. So, I did.
Subway and a pizza joint were closest—only a two-minute walk—and I ate those a lot. During my junior year, I lived near a McDonald’s and ate there a lot. Whatever gummy bears resided in my apartment got eaten right away.
You see proximity matters. The closer I was to a type of food, the more I ate it.
This goes for my attention, too. The closer I am distracting things, the more attention I give them. So I work hard to put physical distance between myself and distracting things.
Take action: Distance yourself from distractions. And pizza.
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.”