Asked

How do you keep distractions at bay?

Not all days are productive. How do you deal with a distracted mind when you just can't focus on things to be done?


I try to stick to my pomodoros (sets of 25 min focused sessions of work) and recently started using time limits on apps/websites again.

To the extent that I can REALLY not focus, or simply need to unblock my brain I hit the gym for 10-20 min or go for a walk and take some sun.

I block websites as well. Especially news websites were a real anxiety booster. Since five months I have not read/watched/listened to news and it’s so nice I never want to go back.

What really helps to focus though are walks as well as strength trainings without bringing a phone. Keeps the mind clear of distractions and I’m really able to process thoughts I can force into action later.

About being productive: I try to slice tasks into manageable pieces. For example when I’m writing a blog post or book chapter, it’s split between draft, editing, polishing, publishing and promoting.

On keeping a clear mind while working: I tend to write stuff that pops up into my mind on post-its to be sure I will look after them later and keep working on whatever was interrupted.

This is how I handle it.

  1. Make a list of todos AND use your calendar app to allocate how, when and for how long will you will work on it. This WHEN is important.

  2. Set alarms for that "when". I set the most irritating alarm on my mobile.

  3. When the alarm rings, I start a timer for 25 minutes.

  4. During the 25 minutes, I force myself to not do anything else. I might not do the intended task but my goal for these 25 minutes is to NOT do anything else. It is either the task or nothing. I am ok with just sitting quietly for 25 minutes, staring at my laptop or the world around me.

  5. Although there are many ways of doing it, I prefer using the Chrome extension for BetterToday.app (One of my older apps that I created a few years ago). The Chrome extension is a new tab replacement so every time I open a new tab while surfing Netflix or Reddit, I get to see my entire day in one place :)

This works for me.

For me, it comes down to meditation.
A distracted mind is like an unhealthy body.
It needs time and training to get back on track, just like going to the gym.
Besides that, I keep a simple list of important things that have to be done.

Guided or unguided meditation?

Both. If guided, I use medito

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