One of the biggest challenges when writing is blocking out the distractions that can arise and interfere with your train of thought. These can be literally anything, from people speaking to you, noises in the environment around you or Internet access in general. So what can you do about these distractions and how can you work to eliminate the effect that they have on your writing.
ESTABLISHING YOUR DISTRACTIONS
Distractions are not going to be the same for everyone, because certain distractions are already eliminated for some people. For some noise may not be an issue for them, they might have always had to work or get things done with noise around and this does not affect them in anyway.
This is why the distractions are different for everyone, because some people will be a affected by one type of distraction while others will be able to work through this without any problems at all. So this then leads to the problem of how to identify what are the things or situations that create distractions for you.
Working out what the things are that distract you are can often be very easy. There are two different methods that I can think of, if the first doesn’t work, then the second should work without fail.
1. Look at where you sound the majority of your time. What are you doing with the large part of your free time, is it watching TV, playing online games, Facebook, talking with others. What ever it is it could be one of the things that distracts you. However this method is not always 100% accurate, especially if the most time is spent on productive tasks.
2. Create a diary in which you have two columns. The left hand column should record what it is you want to get done. The right hand column, would record what you actually did. It will generally work best if you allocate either a specific time to an activity so you can see exactly what you did in place of what you wanted to get done or allocate a set amount of time.
In some way I would hope that one of the above two methods will help you to identify what your distractions are. Using method one for me was really easy it helps me to identify the three biggest distractions which are Tv, Facebook/internet and games. Between the three of these distractions I probably fill 85% of what could be productive time for me.
Once you have identified the things that create the biggest distraction it comes down to how do you eliminate that distraction. The biggest thing here is going to come down to one thing though, willpower, and being able to out a step in place to eliminate the distraction and seeing that through to productivity. As I said right in the very first time blocking out distractions is one of the biggest challenges, not always something easy.
There are many different methods of how to eliminate distractions lout there and different ones will work for you for different distractions. While I would love to be able to give yo a specific answer for your specific situation it is just not possible in one post. What I can do though is explain what my distractions are and just how I have managed to eliminate or greatly limit their impact on my life.
Distraction 1 – TV
In just about every home today there is a TV set, and with the range of different programs on offer there is almost always something you will want to watch. Cutting this as a distraction can be really difficult. There is one sure fire way which I have been using for some time to eliminate this as a distraction. That is by going to a coffee shop to write, it eliminates the TV issue for me entirely. While it does create other possible distractions they are a lot less of a problem for me.
Distraction 2 – Internet/Facebook
Having Internet access can be one of the biggest distractions because of the amount of things that you can be distracted by. There is of course, Facebook YouTube and Twitter, but also blogs, news sites, forums and any number of other time consuming websites. The easiest way to eliminate this is to disconnect from the Internet.
Disconnecting from the Internet has been a problem for me though as at home there is always a WiFi signal and when I am at the coffee shop I seem to just automatically connect my 3G internet. So for me to remove this distraction It generally requires me to use some will power, leave the 3G modem in my bag, or manually disconnect the WiFi at home.
A new solution which I have put in place which I know cost some money is an iPad, without 3G. This means when I am at the coffee shop I cannot access the Internet on this device and as such can more easily have a internet free environment. This post is actually the first written entirely on my iPad and the first reasonable length post I have written in almost 2 months.
Distraction 3 – Games
This is not the biggest issue for me, however in the past four or five weeks it is become more of a distraction. First this was with y iPod touch, and games like Angry Birds and Bejeweled. However this has changed to some other games on my laptop and an odd game on my iPad now. I can generally be a little more restrained with games however if I get started it can sometimes be difficult to pull myself away. This is still one place that I am working on finding a 100% solid method for but I am fairly happy that I can stay away when I need to.
WHERE DOES IT END
I hare to say it but I am not sure if there is ever an end to distractions. There will always be something that comes along that will require willpower, or some sort of effort on your part to ward it off as a distraction. This being said it is not always about eliminating but more often about changing the environment to make the distraction the more difficult option to pursue. Although removing an item or removing yourself from a distracting environment can always work in your favor.