Dealing with distraction is a HUGE issue and the best solutions are often unique to an individual. That said, I would like to begin addressing the many flavors of distraction and offer suggestions that might be useful to you.

Distractions can be internal or external. Distractions can also be in or out of your control. Today I’m going to address a distraction you probably do have some control of: Electronic distractions.

Photo by Rishi Bandopadhay

Here are a few suggestions to address electronic distractions. While facebook and your inbox are both external distractions, for some, it’s also a way to avoid internal noise. You can find out if electronic distractions might run deeper for you by trying some of the suggestions below and simply notice your feelings.

Stay OFF line:
One of the very best time management suggestions I employ and encourage you to try is to stay OFF line for as long as you can each day. I wake up very early in the morning to have some quiet time to do my writing. I write using my computer but I don’t go to my inbox or any place else online until I’ve done my morning writing. I also like to put a little time on a project I’ve been moving forward before I risk getting my attention pulled in many directions by checking email.

If you don’t trust yourself to use the computer without sneaking off to go surf or open your inbox, use MacFreedom.com to keep you honest. If you have to use the web for your work but still want a way to lock the cookie jar, then you might like RescueTime. It will allow you access to some specified sites and not others.

Email by Appointments:
Even if your work is very email dependent you can plan when you go to your inbox. IF you stick to a schedule, people who frequently correspond with you will begin to see your pattern and know you’ll reply around 4PM.

Turn your phone off:
“OMG…She said to turn my phone off!” While working on a project for a set amount of time, turn the phone off. Off as in, power down off. Having the phone open, waiting, with the possibility of dinging, pinging, or singing at any moment it is pulling at some of your attention.

Work on paper:
Unplug completely and grab a pen and paper. When I’m doing brainstorming, I much prefer to do at least the first round on paper.

Have a plan:
When you go on a social media site or online at all, for that matter, have a plan in mind. jot down (on paper) what you would like to accomplish. See if you can keep to the list. This, if nothing else, will make you more aware of your web habits. That awareness might be all you need to make a choice to reduce your online time.

What have you done to deal with electronic distractions?