Eliminate Distractions to Get Things Done

2 08 2008

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Image by Chris Campbell on Flickr via Creative Commons

Image by Chris Campbell on Flickr via Creative Commons

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination” Christopher Columbus

I’ve just finished a swim at down at my gym, and see as it is the start of my ‘cheat day’ (more to come about my diet plan in the future), I am relaxing in the cafe with an fresh orange.

I’ve decided that I’ll write a post about elimating distractions to get things done. As I sit here there are actually quite a few distractions but they are different to what I would have at my office at home (where there is guitars, a Wii, the internet, TV and always cleaning to do). Here in the cafe there is the noise of the coffee machine, and people having conversations around me, however the change of scenery does enable me to focus on what I am doing for at least as long as the OJ takes me to finish and to write the post.

So here are my ‘Top Top Tips’ for eliminating distractions:

  1. Only check emails at set times in the day.
  2. Turn off IM.
  3. Turn off your phone or at least divert to voicemail.
  4. Schedule a meeting with yourself where you can elimate all other distractions and get done what you need to.
  5. Do the most important thing you need to do first thing in the morning (and before you check that email).
  6. Say NO, to meetings, interruptions etc.
  7. Change your work location – like I am doing now.
  8. Listen to music (so you can block out distractions. I find music the has a medium or lower tempo with little lyrics the best for this).
  9. Turn off the Internet. This is what I struggle with the most. Make a set time when you can go on the internet.
  10. Work from Home. I find that I get more done in the first 2 hours of the day working from home than I probably manage in a whole day in the office.

So there are some top tips for you. Personally I find the Internet my biggest distractions. I have worked hard on not letting email be too much of a distraction for me, but I need to work on stopping the Internet being such a distraction for me.

When I find something I think I need to improve on, I make it a mini goal and plan it. Here’s my plan therefore on how I am going to elimate the Internet attention grabber:

  1. Only go on to the Internet when I need to find out certain information. Therefore I will going on to the internet with a purpose rather than just dor the sake of it which leads to me spending hours on there.
  2. Only go on to the internet at set times. Certainly at home I’m going as far as sticking a note on the iMac saying “Why are you going on the Internet?”
  3. As I find that the Internet makes it so easy to find information I always jump on to Google whenever something pops in to my head. I’ll keep a list on my desk of things to look at then I can batch them altogether and blast through them all in one sitting.
  4. Have at least one, if not two unplugged days per week.


I hope you find this post interesting. I’m trying to get more content on to the site, so I’m experimenting with my best flow for writing. I’ve produced this flow fairly quickly (after having thought about it whilst in the Sauna), and hope that I can find the right balance between post quality, content and time management. From start to finish (at the computer) this post took 35 minutes, and that included a slowish internet connection and over 10 minutes trying to find an image!

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4 responses

3 08 2008

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[…] Distractions are a common cause of procrastination. You’re going to have to eliminate your distractions to get things done. If you’re constantly interrupted by phone calls, emails, instant messages or Twitter […]

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