How To Manage Tech Distractions And Focus On Work

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The world of work is changing, according to Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, founders of online careers hub The Muse and authors of The New Rules Of Work. Follow their advice to fast-track your career progress and find more time to do the things you love.

This is the age of distraction, and it’s ironic that the most common sources of our distraction are the same technologies we need to keep up with the new world of work. Whether you’re skimming Facebook, refreshing your inbox again or checking that chat message that just popped up, maintaining concentration is hard. But there’s no substitute for focused, truly uninterrupted time if you’re going to actually get things done. Here are some productivity tools and strategies to help you keep your self-distracting impulses under control.

Use an app like Strict Workflow

This Chrome plug-in is based on the Pomodoro technique, a proven effectiveness method that makes you take five-minute breaks after 25-minute focused work increments. Once it’s installed, a simple click on your browser bar starts the timer for a 25-minute, interruption-free work session.

Set your current task to full screen

Sometimes all you need to focus your attention is to hide everything else from your visual field. Whether you’re working in Word, Chrome or Photoshop, just open the file or tab you need and then enter full-screen mode.

Try a tech curfew

Sometimes the only way to free yourself from the distraction of technology is to cut yourself off from it. Alex once gave herself a challenge that terrified her at first: a tech curfew.

Though accustomed to answering emails well past 1am, she decided she would turn her laptop off at 11pm and stop looking at all screens until she went to bed. She forced herself to adhere to this, and even closed her computer on a partially written email more than once. Guess what? No-one died. No-one even panicked.

Giving yourself a hard tech cut-off time will help you regain control by reminding you that the world won’t stop because you’ve detached. Alex found her experiment made her more productive during the day, meant she had more time for other things like reading, helped her prioritise better – and meant she got more sleep.

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