Staying Focused

By on February 11th, 2011 in Work

Since January 2010, I have worked full-time out of my home. Being at home alone all day in front of the computer can bring a lot of opportunities for distractions. Emails from friends and family, jokes from grandma, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, instant messages, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc, etc. This is just a recipe for disaster. Over the past year I have had to try and block out as many of these distractions as I can and really force myself to get work done. Here’s a few things I have done (or don’t do) to help myself stay focused when working on the computer:

  • Disable Facebook notification emails: By default Facebook is setup to email you whenever someone posts to your wall, pokes you, or whatever. I have disabled all emails from Facebook. All of these notifications can be seen within Facebook and you do not need them in your email. Instructions on how to disable them.
  • Limit Instant messages: I limit my buddy list to only specific people. Usually only work-related contacts. Anyone else can contact me through email.
  • Disable sound notifications: I turn off sound notifications for instant messages and emails and opt for visual notifications (to an extent). Besides distracting sounds beeping at me all day, I usually listen to music or podcasts and sound notifications would get annoying.
  • Disable pop-up notifications: I use Pidgin for instant messaging and I only use the taskbar highlighting when I receive an IM. For emails, I use Scott’s Gmail Alert which displays an icon in your system tray.
  • Avoid social network add-ons/plugins: These are such services as Gist, RockMelt, and Rapportive. These add-ons put your social network contacts “conveniently” in your web browser or next to your Gmail. Doing web design, I am working in the browser all day long. I do not need to know when my friends are online or what they are doing.

These are just a few things to help with avoiding distractions and staying focused.

From the first time that I used a computer at a very young age, I knew that this would be a huge part of my life. The computer allowed me to express myself in a way that nothing else could come close to. Computer graphics and web design opened up so many new and intriguing ways to tell the World about myself. Later, I would discover the immense joy of helping others with technology with the patience and enthusiasm that I give it myself.

Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @petebocken