Blocking Out Distractions

The hardest thing about being productive and getting work done is blocking out distractions. Friends, family, TV, Internet, distractions are everywhere. With classes and work, I don't generally have much time to allow distractions to take away from my work time and then that cuts into my free time.

First things first, change your workspace if you can. This might mean using a different computer, sitting at desk rather than the couch, going into another room, or maybe leaving home to hit the library or coffee shop. I like a low drone of background noise so I used to get a lot of work done in Starbucks.

Then shut down the Internet. I like to keep a lot of tabs open to email, Facebook, forums, etc.and those tend to serve as major distractions for me when I'm using the computer for work. I think "I'll just check my email real quick" and twenty minutes later I find myself on Tumblr. Only open those tabs that are actually necessary for your work.

Make a list of tasks. I find this helps me keep organized with what I need to get done each day. The list usually includes homework, any chores that I have to get done around the house, my target word count for the day, blogs post I need to write, and anything else that I need to do.

Use a timer if that works for you. Some people find it helpful to set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes and then work the entire time. Then when the timer goes off, you take a break and start it again.

While you're working, give intermittent breaks--but preferably not the Internet. That's an easy black hole to get sucked into. Read a couple chapters of a book, watch an episode of a TV show, go for a walk, do whatever you like as long as you'll be able to come back from it refreshed and ready to work.


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