1. Get rid of your access to social media. Putting your phone on silent isn’t enough. Either put it in a drawer across the room or shut it down completely so you aren’t able to absentmindedly pick it up and open Twitter when boredom strikes. You should take the same precautions with your laptop. Even if you’re working over the internet and can’t step away from your screen, there are programs you can download in order to block your access to certain websites. That way, you’ll be able to stick to the task at hand instead of accidentally scrolling through Instagram from an hour.
2. Eliminate distractions, don’t add more. Music might help you concentrate. Or it might turn into a distraction. If you’re going to end up spending twenty minutes between each song, trying to pick out the perfect one, or end up singing along to the lyrics and getting sidetracked from your goals, then you probably shouldn’t put on a playlist. Instead, drown out the sounds around you by playing nature sounds or instrumentals. That way, you’ll still have something to listen to while you work, but it won’t become a time waster.
3. Work somewhere that makes sense. If you’re a people watcher who loves to eavesdrop, then you probably shouldn’t work at a coffee shop — or even a library. You need to work in a quiet, clean space where you aren’t going to get distracted every five seconds. That means you should try to find a place with a door that locks so your friends and family and even your adorable puppy can’t run in and distract you.
4. Write down your random thoughts. If you’re trying to focus on work, and then randomly remember you need to pay the bills by the end of the week or want to check to see who got sent home on the latest episode of The Bachelor, don’t switch tasks. Simply write down those items somewhere you’re going to remember to look. That way, you won’t forget about them, but you can focus on them after you’re finished focusing on the task at hand.
5. Put inspirational reminders where you need them the most. If you’re worried you’re going to check your phone when you should be working, change your home screen to a quote about working hard. It might stop you from answering texts when you’re supposed to be keeping focused. It might give you the extra motivation you need when you’re ready to slack. Likewise, if you’re worried you’ll keep hitting snooze in the morning, attach a reminder to your alarm about the early bird and the worm.
6. Schedule little breaks for yourself. Instead of stopping randomly to check your phone, set a scheduled break time for yourself. After you work for a certain amount of time, give yourself permission to scroll through social media or call your boyfriend or grab some snacks. That way, you can still break up your work day without feeling overwhelmed, but you won’t take advantage of your free time and waste valuable time.