As someone who is unemployed, self-employed, or whatever you want to call it there is one thing I've recently realized I need to be ruthless about.
Less distractions mean both your quality and quantity of output should increase.
When your quantity and quality of output increase, people notice.
When people notice, you reap the benefits.
This stands even for those employed full-time in 9-5 environments.
And if you’re in a place where people don’t notice your increased output, then maybe it’s time to explore new opportunities.
But the point here is how to eliminate distractions, not why. If you don’t know why you should eliminate distractions at work, then you’re reading the wrong article.
One of my biggest distractions in the time since I left my job has been my phone.
I think it’s a problem for most people. Social media is the worst part of it.
It’s an escape. A mental reprieve. We’re addicted to the dopamine hits we get from notifications and while people will say it’s a way to unwind, most people I know just get wound up by social media: “Did you see what my mom posted on Facebook?” “Did you see how much skin she was showing in her last Insta post?” “Did you see what that idiot said on Twitter now?”
Nothing about it is an escape other than that it means we don’t have to think about work for a few minutes.
But it’s a crutch. We reach a quick break in our work and reach for our phones to scroll as if it's a reward for concentrating on work for a couple minutes.
But that time could be spent continuing to plow forward on the project due by Friday or replying to that email that just came in from the boss that you want to avoid or doing that tiny task for your coworker that you’ve been ignoring for days for no reason.
Nothing on social media is urgent or immediate. If there are things that are urgent, they’ll come in the form of a text or a phone call. But nothing posted on social media is going to make a tremendous difference if you hear about it 6 hours after the fact rather than 6 minutes after.
So I’ve deleted social media from my phone.
I’m actually in the process of deleting a large chunk of apps off my phone. Most of them never get used and sit there gathering virtual dust.
I'm intentionally eliminating anything leveraged as a distraction or a way to procrastinate.
My phone is the #1 method of avoiding the work and “distracting” myself from the things that really matter and need to get done.
So be honest, are you leveraging your phone as a tool to get things done and be productive? Or are you using it excessively for escapism because you “deserve a break”? (You don’t deserve a break by the way, but that’s a topic for another time).