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

Every morning I reflect on how the previous day went. I ask myself:

  • Were there too many distractions?
  • How will today be better?

With a lot of practice, I developed a good rhythm and eliminated most distractions. But sometimes I slip up. For example, a few days ago, I watched President Trump’s interview while I ate lunch. The interview oozed with baseless assertions and false claims. I felt angry and spent a chunk of the afternoon complaining and commiserating with friends on Slack. As a result, I got little work done. After that, I vowed not to watch any interviews until the evening (or not at all).

Take action: Each day, identify your biggest distractions and make a plan to eliminate 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