Everybody thinks that there is one piece of productivity advice that is going to magically help them to stay focused. That this one thing, once adopted, will transform their work day into the model of efficiency.
Here at Cloud Coach, I specialize in helping people get out from under the crushing blow of their email inboxes by setting up automated systems for dealing with email.
I also do a lot of work with business clients on getting technology to work for them, not trap them or slow them down.
However, people still contact me with questions about productivity. They are distracted by their email, smart phones, YouTube, the internet, and more.
People want to know if there’s anything they can do to be more productive.
Rather than trying to be more productive, we should seek to remove distractions. No technique, tool, or methodology is going to help. You simply can’t be productive when there are distractions.
If something has become a distraction, you have already failed to avoid it.
You have become…
Rather than try to avoid them, why not remove them all together?
The Magic Bullet
In a way, there is a magic bullet productivity advice that I can give (and I give it regularly). This is the one piece of productivity advice that you don’t listen to (guaranteed). Here it is:
- Shut off your phone.
- Quit your email notification software.
- Write full screen in Scrivener, OmmWriter, or iAWriter (my favorite).
- Use Self Control to block certain websites
- Use Spirited Away to automatically minimize inactive windows
- Or just shut the internet off completely
- Wear headphones to block out the noise around you
- Work standing up
- Use the Pomodoro Technique
It's simple advice, but the problem is that distractions are unique to the individual. What's a distraction for me (the New York Times hompage and the Lifehacker blog) may not be for you. So my list may not work for you.
Can you help me add to this list?
What are distractions for you and what do you do to avoid them?
Once you remove the distractions, are you productive?