Question submitted by Jess via the Workfrom Slack.
I think “distraction free” works both ways.
Keeping yourself focused can involve screening off part of a room (I like the vibe of shoji screens), noise cancelling headphones, and a source of nice background music.
Removing distractions for people you’re working with includes keeping your mic muted when on calls unless you’re talking; maybe blurring your video background, if that’s a possibility for you, and closing a door to your space so you get fewer unanticipated “party crashers.”
I like to find a space in my home that is away from the traffic of the house (dogs, partners, family, kids) so that I can focus. The quieter the better! Some use services like krisp.ai (I have yet to try out!) which blocks out background noise from either yourself or the person you are chatting with.
I use noise cancelling headphones and focus/creativity music I find online to help me get in my zone. When I have a meeting coming up I let the people of the house know I will be unavailable and for how long in case there are any deliveries or knocks at the door.
I also equip my space with what I will need for the day prior to my day starting and especially before meetings. For me I usually have an extra screen, pen and paper, and any chargers or supplies I’ll need. This keeps me focused during meetings and not searching for things!
I listened to the book ‘Deep work’ by Cal Newport on Blinkist, which gave me some fantastic reminders. Recommended!
Some easy quick tips from the top of my head;
- No notifications or other screens open (or better; work it all out offline before opening the laptop. Don’t have phone close.)
- Start small with the goal to create ‘flow’
- Only plan one (or two) major things in your day and just do them until done excellently. (I like to use my fresh morning focus for deep work, afternoon for other things like emails etc.)
So gratifying to have really made a change in your day.
Excellent note on the notifications! This is something I forget about all the time. I love the Do Not Disturb function on my phone but I forget to mute slack sometimes and it pulls me away.
Haha yeah it can take a second and you’re gone, only to realise you’ve been distracted 15 minutes later. The problem is that it breaks flow, which is essential for deep work. Easier said than done though!
You’ve inspired me to do a deep dive into my notifications settings!
This reminds me that there’s a new Focus mode on the latest Android version which allows you to mark which apps should be muted, and for what time period during the day. You can also pause the focus mode for 5, 15 or 30 mins if you want to take a break. I’ve been using it for the past week and it’s fantastic. https://www.blog.google/products/android/android-focus-mode/
I listen to over-ear headphones with some type of white noise playing. Helps tune out background noise like sirens or people in the hallway.
I’ve been using this for the past few months: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRnjwBD341s