Study after study shows that you become much more efficient if you go for substantial periods of time without interruption.
Web Worker Daily’s Meryl Evans has a list of 17 tips for avoiding distractions.
(Most of this advice might seem incredibly obvious, but for the fact that so few people ever actually do these things.)
- “Close or minimize your email app.” You have an important task that will take up the next 15 minutes. The world won’t end if you don’t respond to any emails in that time. So why do you need to know that they’re there?
- Even crazier, you could go offline altogether. “C’mon, you must have some tasks you can complete without the Internet. Disconnect your computer or laptop from the network to force the issue, if you must.”
- While you’re at it, kill the cell phone too. “If you need zero interruptions, then turn off the phone. Don’t just put it on vibrate, as you can hear that. If you must stay leashed to the phone for emergencies, how about modifying your cell phone’s profile? Set it up so that calls from emergency numbers have a specific ring tone, while silencing all other incoming calls.”
- “Download a different browser.” There are plenty of web browsers out there. The one you use for work doesn’t need to have ESPN bookmarked.
- “Install fun apps on a different computer.” But then how would you play World of Warcraft during conference calls?
If you aren’t the guardian of nuclear launch codes, you can probably afford to cut yourself off from these distractions for short periods at a time. There is every reason to believe it would make you better at your job. But can you breathe without the internet?
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