Show Notes

Episode 67: Dealing with Distraction

Every day, we’re bombarded by constant distraction and it can really get in the way of productivity. This week, Janine and Shannon talk about the challenges presented by distraction and some strategies for dealing with it.

Discussion topics include:

  • The toll distractions take on our productivity
  • Janine’s distracting quest for birthday-gift suggestions
  • Fun subscription boxes
  • Open loops and how they can be distracting
  • How to close those open loops
  • Stopping mid-sentence to prompt yourself to go back to writing
  • How stopping mid-sentence backfired for Shannon when she was participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
  • The prospect of writing a graphic novel or an illustrated novel during NaNoWriMo
  • Janine’s #1 tool in avoiding distraction: A timer
  • Shannon’s technique for dealing with distractions: writing down the bright shiny object and moving on
  • Shannon’s three-pronged task management system (Todoist, Trello & Bullet Journal)
  • The value of knowing which tasks are important—and why
  • How a good task management system can help you avoid succumbing to distraction
  • Some strategies for minimizing distractions
  • The easiest way to deal with distraction: eliminate the opportunities to be distracted (we’re talking to you, iPhone on the nightstand)
  • Creating awareness of the things that distract you
  • How just knowing you can get a notification reduces your IQ


1 thought on “Episode 67: Dealing with Distraction”

  1. I found Shannon’s usage of three To-Do portals interesting. I just use my calendar and my To-Do list. I tried after listening to your Time Management episode but found it was too much to keep track of. I have a handwritten to-do list that I move my calendar items into at the end of each day in preparation for the next day. (My calendar changes all the time so I don’t keep a paper calendar because I hate all the scratch-outs!) I also list my to-do’s for the day and check them off one by one as I do them. If I have to move something to the next day, I put an arrow pointing to the right in front of the item so that I know what I’m doing with it, too.

    I find that by using this system so that I always know the next thing to do, I am less distracted. I have a problem with attention and distraction so I have to use cues to stay on track. I also use a timer like Janine. I find that it helps me focus. I usually set it for 12 minutes as I don’t stay focused for longer periods than that. Just having a 1-minute break in between allows me to refocus and get back to it (whatever “it” is!)

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