A few years ago, I decided I have self-diagnosed adult-onset attention deficit disorder. For real. I don’t remember ever lacking for focus as much as I have in recent years.
As a business owner, it’s a little scary. You’d think that sitting in my nice, quiet office every day would do wonders for my productivity. I mean, I do love the quiet and the fact that working from home allows me the freedom to schedule work when it’s convenient for me.
But in reality, I find myself more distracted than ever. There’s Facebook and email. And someone has gotten me addicted to Instagram (those dang Instastories!). I don’t know what the draw is to all this noise and distraction, but I feel like I’m missing out on something if I don’t check one or all of them, like…now. (I’m not.) And then there’s laundry and dishes—and all those books that Amazon keeps delivering to me.
I feel about all these distractions how I used to feel about reality television. I CAN’T LOOK AWAY. Big Brother was my favorite. Thank goodness I quit cable about six years ago. SQUIRREL!
[bctt tweet=”You need to get rid of the squirrels in your head so you can work. Tips!” username=””]
Anyway, I’ve been working on getting rid of the squirrels in my head before I simply go mad. If you ever feel the same about all the distractions, here are some of the things I’ve tried (and somewhat successfully at that):
News Feed Eradicator
I do a lot of research online, for clients and for my own content creation. Blocking the internet doesn’t make sense for me, but heading over to Facebook is just a click away. It’s too easy. Using the News Feed Eradicator, I can block the cute kitten videos and all the politics posted by my friends and just go to the groups where I need to pop into (“need”—haha) or send messages to people.
Like Facebook, my inbox is a huge distraction. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a copywriting emergency, so I don’t know why I feel such an urgency to check my email. Frankly, I know it’s just a distraction technique I use to procrastinate what I really should be doing. And when I have to get into my inbox to communicate with a client or colleague, I’m not distracted by incoming messages if my inbox is on pause.
[bctt tweet=”With planning and a schedule, there’s no such thing as a copywriting emergency.” username=””]
Shutting Down Notifications
Slack notifications and text alerts are distracting because I always feel like I have to answer. Now. The world isn’t going to end if I answer a few hours later, so I put my phone on “do not disturb” and I completely shut down Slack. That’s usually enough to keep me focused. For a while, at least.
Turning My Phone Off
But because I have email and Facebook and Slack and Instagram (and, and, and) on my phone, sometimes I need a little added motivation to leave the apps alone. Turning my phone off and even putting it in another room works wonders!
Checking Out the Coffee Shop
The noise and bustle of a coffee shop is distracting to some and it’s distracting to me—to a degree. But there’s no laundry or dogs or children that belong to me there, so it’s an easy place for me to sit in one place and get some serious work done. Plus, my favorite place has the best iced tea ever, so bonus points!
By far, my saving grace has been my ability to find accountability buddies. And it’s validation that I’m not alone in my squirrel syndrome. A lot of us suffer from it, in some way, shape or form. My accountability buddies have been a huge support in my business, either by checking in with me to make sure I’m working toward my goals or by sitting on a quiet CEO Date and co-work virtually.
What are your favorite ways to stave off the squirrel syndrome? I’m always looking for new tools to add to my arsenal, so let me know in the comments!