How to Avoid Digital Distractions

Summary: Looking to get more done? Start by eliminating these digital distractions. (Tweet This!)

This sign is a digital distraction

I spend many hours working on the web. I'm writing articles, coding special features, answering tons of emails. While I'm doing all this, I'm wondering, "How many people came to the site today?" and "How much money did I actually make?"

Even if I convince myself that I typically make the same amount and do the same traffic every day (it's true), I then start wonder what else is going on. How are my stocks performing? Did the Patriots sign a free agent?

Bottom line: I have the attention span of a cat and the internet is full of bright shiny objects.

It's a problem that I'm still struggling to solve. I've found some things that help me.

  • Set a timer and work until it buzzes - If you read How To Be Productive, you learned that research shows it is optimal to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break.
  • Use multiple browser profiles - I love Firefox. One of my favorite things about it is the ability to have different profiles. I have one profile for just Be Better Now. I have a different profile for following stocks, sports, and everything else. When I writing for Be Better Now, I shut down my other browsers. Without easy autocomplete, I don't check all the other websites.
  • Remove all notifications - I make sure that I don't have any apps that alert me with email popups, IMs, or anything like that.
  • Get some software help - Rescue Time is a program that monitors what you are doing on your computer. Then you get reports about what is taking up your time. Once you know what is sapping your productivity, you can proactively look to eliminate the distractions.

While it isn't exactly a perfect fit for digital distractions, I found a related book with 191 ratings with a 4.6 average rating: Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder

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