One thing my friend remarked at the start of the work-from-home wave during the pandemic is that his work started “spreading throughout the day” rather than doing it in one block of office time.
To be fair, working-from-office doesn’t mean all work is focused. There’s still a lot of water cooler time, phone swiping time, and other time wasters. There’s just no laze-in-bed time.
As a businessperson, I have a huge incentive to keep my efficiencies up as my income is much more strongly tied to how much output I create.
Behavioural Change? How About Environmental Change
As I understand it, it’s more difficult to change a person’s behaviour. It’s much easier if you’d modified the environment to incentivize behavioural change.
I mean, have you seen those roads with a low-speed limit but everyone driving 30 over? The environment sends a message.
Identifying the biggest source of distractions
I asked myself what my biggest distractions are and here’s what I found:
- Specific websites online
Since each of them require a specific way of managing, let’s go through them one by one.
Blocking Distracting Websites with Chrome extension BlockSite
While working, I find myself periodically visiting time-wasting websites like Instagram, Facebook, job boards and classified websites.
It’s a major pain because these websites are very doomscroll friendly. The endless flow of content really makes it an endless stream of distraction.
I can’t abstain from them using sheer willpower, so I use the plugin BlockSite on Google Chrome.
The free version is amazing and good enough for my purposes. I like the fact that I can key in URLs like facebook.com, instagram.com, etc., and it’ll never allow me to visit those websites in the period I specify.
Instead, if I enter the URLs of those websites, it’ll reroute me to Google Keep, where I store all my tasks that I need to do.
A great way to remind me that I got to get cracking.
One Metre Away Keeps The Distractions At Bay
Keep your phone far away from you when working.
I don’t get how some people can keep their phones within sight and still manage to do work. I can’t.
Silence Your Phone To Avoid Distractions
My phone has many ways of telling me I need to pay attention to it. It has a LED that flashes when a notifications comes in. It can vibrate or ring when a notification comes in.
So I turn on “Do Not Disturb”. That avoids all of these distractions. The only thing that can bother me are calls, where my phone will vibrate. Otherwise, messages are silenced and you’ll only know they’re there when use your phone.
I don’t have an iPhone but I believe the latest iOS has a mode which will stay silent and release the notifications on the hour. Sounds like a cool mode.
Keep That Phone Out Of Sight
Another thing that I do is to keep my phone out of sight.
Whether it’s hiding it behind my laptop, putting it behind me or keeping my phone on a shelf, I find that this is also a very key ingredient in stopping the phone from being a source of distraction.
So the key takeaway here is to keep your phone away from your sense of sight and hearing. Out of your five senses, out of your mind!
Is Your Bed a Distraction?
This is a bit of a problem because a bed is so comfortable. Add in doomscrolling on your phone and being on the bed can be a huge time suck.
What I found useful is to go as far away from the bed as possible. I find that when I work in a library or cafe, my efficiency really increases.
Of course, I don’t particularly like going out to do work because I lose my dual-monitor setup. So, what I found was that it really helped me when I put physical distance between my bed and my workplace.
This can mean working in another floor of your house. Or if you are in an apartment, working in the living room.
Have a project in mind?
Websites. Graphics. SEO-oriented content.
I can get your next project off the ground.
See how I have helped my clients.