Are you being continuously distracted? I definitely am! And I know that it will never end — the everyday whirlwind doesn’t stop even for a minute. You can’t remove it or silence it completely. But what you can — and probably should — is to avoid adding your own distractions. Here are two simple productivity tips that I recommend.
Send Email But Don’t Visit Your Inbox
So you have this email you want to write? What do you do? Well, you go to your gmail account and click Compose… But oh, wait… Your eyes will surely scan the titles of the new emails that have just arrived. And your brain will surely catch the bait — ah, something new, something intriguing. Some of the titles will awake your surprise, some anger or anxiety: it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you just got distracted.
How to avoid it? In case of Gmail, go straight to https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&view=cm, compose your email, send it and viola! You’ve just finished your task without distracting yourself! Good job!
Real life: OK, it is not always possible. Sometimes you need to check previous emails, or respond to existing thread instead of creating a new one. True. But do it whenever possible.
Extra tip: Create a bookmark for this https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&view=cm URL.
One Tab Is All You Need
Let us say, you opened a new empty tab, created a new Google doc there and started working on it. You write, and write, and write… and then, suddenly your eyes move to other open tabs and… oooops! You don’t write anymore. You wake up after dozen minutes or so wondering what was it that you were actually doing, cause now, you are reading this fascinating article about X. What just happened? Well, distraction happened and you yourself invited it to your world by leaving all these tabs open!
What you should do instead? The moment you begin a new task, you drag this new tab, so it creates a new window. You change its size to fullscreen, so that you see nothing more but this one tab. And then you work. You eyes can now wonder all over the screen, but all they can see is the task you should be working on now. And this is exactly how it should be.
Real life: OK, the real life isn’t so simple. Once you open this new tab, you will probably open few more along it (cause you will check some facts on the web, open a dictionary etc.). That is hard to avoid, so don’t try too hard. Close the extra tabs as soon as you don’t need them anymore.
Extra tip: learn the keyboard shortcuts so you can move between tabs & windows, and to close the tabs. It helps.
P.S. This article was written in a two-tabs environment. One tab with the google doc, the other one with https://tomato-timer.com It worked like a charm, and I finished this article in less than 25 minutes!
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Give these 2 tips a try, and let me know if it worked. Or maybe you have some other ways to deal with such distractions? I would be happy to learn about them.