When you’re in a traditional office, spending the day in front of a computer, the IT department will often block streaming sites and social media. They are trying to tell you that your focus should be on work, and only work. But what if you’re a freelancer making your own money? Procrastination is all too easy.
There are news sites to read, social media accounts to check, music, videos, games… not to mention the distractions posed by family members and home life. So how does one avoid online distractions and focus on work?
Timing work in bursts
The Pomodoro technique is popular for promoting and timing work in focused bursts of 25 minutes. That means 5 minutes in every half an hour can be used for something distracting. Having a few moments to spend with your son or daughter, playing with your pet or even playing a round of your favourite mobile game. There are many Pomodoro based apps which help give you a break if you need one. If you want to go this route, Zapier has a great outline of the best Pomodoro app for you.
Working in an open plan environment or shared office can be difficult if you’re someone who doesn’t get that many phone calls and likes to work to your own background noise, not someone else gossiping about the latest reality show or what they did last night. A good pair of noise cancelling headphones and a subscription to an online streaming service is your answer. Focus comes easily when your favourite music is playing in the background; loud enough for you to hear but also loud enough to block your colleague’s chatter.
Noisli and other similar apps generate random white noise to effectively cancel out other background distractions and boost focus on the task at hand. There are several other apps which block access to social media totally plus a selection which track a user’s usage, where the user can set daily limits to their access.
A website blocker won’t be of much use to you if you don’t manage your notifications for text messages and emails, let alone for incoming telephone calls. Take the time to manage these so that you can remain focused.