I just returned from my first completely offline weekend in… longer than I can remember… and as I work like crazy to get caught back up on email and various projects, I thought I’d share some of the low-tech tools I use to stay focused when I’m working.
Do Not Disturb
Make it clear to those around you that you’ve got to have uninterrupted work time.
If you have an “office” you can close the door and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
If you don’t have a separate office space, you can still hang up a sign somewhere visible to help remind your family it’s your work time. I find it helps to put a time on the sign of when I’ll be done working.
If background noise is a challenge, you might use headphones and listen to non-distracting music while you work (this doesn’t work for everyone, but it does help me).
Use a Timer
We can only work so long without a break before our brains get fuzzy feeling. And it’s easier to start a difficult task if we know we’ve only got to work for X minutes.
You can try a kitchen timer (Amazon has some cool ones).
Turn Off & Block
If you don’t need the internet for what you’re working on, turn it off. Turn off your email if you can. I choose to block Facebook and Twitter/Hootsuite, along with my favorite news websites, if I really want to stay focused.
Of course, you can get around any of these, so they really don’t stop you but merely provide a good, strong reminder that you want to focus on work.
What Works for You?
What have you found that works well for you? Do you use any of these tools or strategies to stay focused? Or others?