Distraction Calendar

I recently had a wake up call in how I manage my contracts. I won’t get into the catalyst, but the result has been amazing. See, I get distracted very easily.

So I printed out a calendar, tape it to my desk, and put down a tally mark in the day whenever I find myself distracted by news or wandering thoughts. I saw results in just a few days. By the end of the month, I saw my number of distractions drop from 10 to 5 per day on average. I’m now much more aware of my distractions and am way more focused.

Some distraction reduction methods have you record your day in 15 or 30 minute intervals so you know exactly what you’re doing. This is all well and good for some, but it’s burdensome on you. A distraction calendar’s focus on tallies is very easy to do and seems to be a great example of an 80% solution.

I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere else on the Internet, but I’m probably not the first to come up with this.

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Stephen Peteritas

While cutting distractions are key, I think having a few guilty pleasures (distractions) at work is healthy. Contrary to popular belief it’s impossible to crank 100 % of the time and taking 5 minutes here and there isn’t always a bad thing.

Andrew Krzmarzick

I hear ya, Sterling. And it’s funny because I was thinking this very thought this morning – where is my flow interrupted and how can I manage it more effectively? I was planning to print out a calendar so that I could mark where I was working on something and then got pinged or had my mind wander…and see if there were any patterns. From there, I was going to adjust my work flow so that I build in thinking and writing where I have the least interruptions.

You just might have the start of the next great time management book ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sterling Whitehead

@Stephen. You’re right about those distractions. I can tweak the goal of this to be “reducing, but not eliminating, distractions”. People aren’t robots and I’m not either.

@Andy. Try out my method for a week and tell me how it works for you. I’m happy to help you tweak it, esp. if I’m going to write a book on it.

Nicolette Brennan

I’ve done something similar to try to control my own distractions, and those walking into my office. I plan my work for the day then I review what I actually did at the half and end of day.