The Focus Course

Overcoming Distractions and Interruptions

Pre-S: This is a lesson pulled from our Time Management Course. Access our entire course library with an Accelerator membership.

In this lesson I’m going to give you some tools for dealing with distractions and interruptions.

Now, it’s helpful to understand that distractions can come from two places.

  • Distractions come from within. If you’re bored with the task at hand and want to go do something else instead. Or if you’ve built up a habit of checking social media every 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll naturally just do that whenever you have a moment’s break.

  • Distractions come from without. Such as people interrupting us, or just from the general interruption- and distraction-prone environments that many people work in. For this, you’ve got to cut the distractions off at the pass.

The way we manage distractions and interruptions is very similar to the way we manage procrastination and the way we beat out the Tyranny of the Urgent:

Be proactive!

Cut things off at the pass as much as possible by setting your normal routine to be one that keeps you out of the path of common distractions and common interruptions.

  • Ask others not to interrupt you.
  • Put on headphones and put a sticky note on your chair.
  • Close out email and twitter and whatever else.
  • Go work in another part of the office.

Also: schedule the most important stuff and keep it sacred. That way it’s less likely to get interrupted because you’ve done something to guard it. Then, when interruptions do come at other times during the day you are not being interrupted from your most important work.

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