Eliminating Distractions II
One year ago I wrote about eliminating distractions, something everyone should focus on doing. And being a work-from-home father of a energetic one year old, I need all the focus I can get while I'm at work. Life improved a little bit but a month ago I had another internal meltdown about being pulled too many ways. And the source of being pulled too many ways? Me. I put myself in a position to pulled so I've put a halt to that. The following are the ways I've released myself from all of the unneeded stress and distraction.
Take the Time to Unsubscribe
I'm as guilty of this as anyone else: simply deleting emails we have no intention or desire to receive in the first place. I beg of you: take the minute to unsubscribe from each rubbish email you receive. The time it takes to archive/delete these emails every few days adds up, and any moment you spend on crap emails is wasted time. And they don't deserve to be able to distract you. Fuck 'em -- get rid of them for good.
Google Inbox seems to promote getting through your email quickly. There's seemingly no "mark as unread" and its grouping of emails makes it easy to swipe and move on. Even if the email we get isn't spam, I'd bet we'd agree that at least 50% of said email isn't important, or even necessary. Email should be looked at once and a reply or deletion should be made -- do whatever it takes to get through each and every email at the time you view it.
Remove Work Email from Phone
I've always felt an intense ownership over any project I work on, whether I'm the lead or an errand boy for the site. That lead me to setting up my work email on my personal phone and tablet. For five days a week there was no distraction, but receiving work emails on the weekend didn't allow me to "get away." I'd receive a work email on early Saturday morning and my weekend would be spent stewing about the contents of the email. Here's something that we should all realize: we deserve a personal life. We shouldn't be interrupted during a family trip to the zoo by a tedious email -- any critical issue will result in a text or a phone call. When you're away from work...be away from work.
Twitter is bound to be a distraction but when you have dozens of unnecessary accounts you follow, you're going to get distracted twice as often. Get rid of the fringe Twitter accounts -- less tweets means more important information received. Get rid of the crap follows and focus more. Same with Facebook and other social networks -- hide or dump the fringe people and you'll be much happier.
Close Unneeded IRC Rooms
Being in an IRC room gives anyone the ability to ping you. Which usually ends up in a distracting alert. Close the room -- you don't need to be there. I'd write more about this but bailing from a chat room is so fast that it doesn't require more information.
These are my most recent steps in being distraction free. My first iteration was one to let me focus more on work, but my most recent effort is to get away from work during my free time. What do you do to dodge distractions? Please, please share!