Dealing With Distractions

Now that we are back to a “normal” routine (hubby's back at work, kids at daycare) and I'm home with Jasmine trying to work between naps and feedings, I'm finding it difficult to avoid distractions. And there are, oh so many distractions!

The usual suspects are: social media (tweet, tweet), email, internet, baby care and — can you guess??? — blogging.

With the (extended) end-of-month deadline for my Designing a Compelling 30-second Intro v2 guidebook looming over me, I'm feeling the pull of distractions even more. Does this ever happen to you?

Here are 3 ways I use to eliminate (or diminish) distractions:

  • Close my speakers. This made a huge difference, because programs, like Outlook, Twhirl, Vision Board, make a sound when updated. If I don't hear it, I'm not lured into stopping my work to check it out.
  • Close all windows on my PC except what I'm working on. For my guidebook, that means keeping only these programs open: MS Word, Notepad and Visual Thesaurus. Everything else gets closed. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Close my PC. This is the most extreme measure, but must be done when I'm in crunch mode. I work much better with pen and paper anyways. I'll print notes, close my PC, take a notepad and favorite pen, set myself up on the kitchen table and write away. When I'm done I go back to my office and type what I wrote. It may not sound efficient, but I save time by not fooling around on other things.

My latest procrastination-beating tool is Havi Brooks' Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic (Havi is my current flavor and I'm stalking following her work closely). She teaches a super quick technique (something you wouldn't expect) to immediately get you into action. I've had her book for a week and it's worked wonders.

Finally, if I'm really resisting doing whatever it is I need to do (and I don't feel like doing anything about it), I simply stop pretending to work and try not to beat myself up over my lack of focus and discipline. I'll get up, play with Jasmine, walk to the store or give in to whatever distraction I'm avoiding. I know I'll do better next time, so there's no use white-knuckling it.

What are your culprits? How do you overcome them?

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