These days I am ruthlessly removing distractions. For instance I have turned off all sorts of notifications from my computer as well as from my tablet. So no more pop-ups telling me that new email has arrived, but the virus database needs to be updated (why ask me if any way I’m going to click “Update”?), I have got new Twitter mentions and people have left messages on my Facebook timeline. I mean, the sky isn’t going to fall if I don’t check my mail or my status updates that very moment. These things can wait. Hence, disabled.
I’m also applying minimalism while writing. For more than three years now I have been using Google docs for all writing purposes. Nonetheless, it being in the browser, there is always this temptation to quickly check out that link or some sort of update. These days I not only make copious use of F11 (to completely maximise my browser screen) but also hide all the toolbars. If you could see my screen, it is just a standing white rectangle in the middle of slightly greyish background, with this text. Nothing more.
I would gladly switch off the Internet but as I just told you above, I use Google Docs and it requires me to remain online all the time (although you can work off-line too… will explore that one of these days).
Social networking is an essential part of working online these days and many of my clients sometimes leave messages on Twitter and Facebook. Besides, I try to maintain an active presence on Twitter (gradually on Google plus too due to its SEO relevance) to promote my content writing services. But unlike the old days, I check my timeline just 4-5 times in a day.
I had this nasty habit of checking all the new arrivals in my inbox even when all I had to do was check a particular message. These days I’m training my eyes to just focus on the particular message I need to work with, rather than focusing my attention on other messages that can wait.
My computer desktop also has a cleaner look now with just 3-4 icons in the corner. I have shifted the taskbar to the left, from bottom, and I have set it to auto hide so that it is not visible when I don’t need it.
I’m also removing distractions from my work environment. There used to be lots of clutter on my work desk. Papers were strewn around here and there, empty boxes and cases were aimlessly lying around, someone used glasses, cups and bowls always laid somewhere around; the thing is 70% of the stuff on my table was just there, I didn’t need it. I got rid of it.
I recently read that clutter distracts your mind and you don’t even realise it because the mind works really fast. So all the distraction is happening, you don’t even realise it, and very soon, due to constant processing, your brain seems tired, and eventually you feel drained out and depressed.
Fewer distractions mean your brains simply needs to focus on the work it is doing.