Many makers have other responsibilities such as their jobs, families, or school. For these individuals, maximizing the time dedicated to their projects is very important. Of course, watching The Office on Netflix is much easier. But being able to squeeze out that extra time might make all the difference between success and failure. In this article I will discuss how to avoid distraction and maximize your productivity.
Know what you want to work on before you start working
By knowing what you want to work on before sitting down to work, you can make your decided task your main focus. You avoid wasting time making the decision and switching from task to task.
Establish a routine
This will help get your mind and body in the mindset of working. My routine for when I come home is this:
- Spend some time relaxing
- Put music on that I’ve heard thousands of times (lately Nirvana)
- Start working
This routine allows me to get rid of anything that has the potential to distract me and helps me get in the mindset for working.
Pick one task
It is possible to get overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to do and end up not getting anything done. Picking one task to do for the day allows you to break your project down to simple tasks that will make you feel less overwhelmed. Imagine if your project is broken down into a hundred tasks. That means in less than four months your project can be ready for launch.
Seems less overwhelming, right? The size of the task does not matter. The point is to get in the habit and routine of doing something from start to finish. Your task can be anything from choosing the color of a button to making a logo.
Allowing others to watch you work with add some pressure. People watching will be confused and start to comment if you suddenly go from working on your front-end to watching cat videos on YouTube.
Grayscale the color on your phone
Phones can be a big distraction. To lessen your phone usage grayscale the color. Do this because what makes our phone interesting to our brains is the color. By subtracting the color it will be less interesting and you will be less distracted by your phone.
To grayscale your phone on iOS go to Setting → General → Accessibility → Display Accommodations → Color Filters → Grayscale
You can add a shortcut to add the color back if you need it to look at anything. On iOS, add shortcuts on Accessibility → scroll to the bottom → Accessibility Shortcut. This allows you to switch from color to grayscale everytime you hit the home button 3 consecutive times.
Full screen your laptop
If you work in the browser and have a bunch of tabs open it is easy to get distracted by them. By full screen your laptop in the browser this will hide the other tabs. Allowing you to focus on your current task without distraction. This can be done by pressing F11 on Windows.
Close your laptop with tomorrow’s tasks open
When you are done for the day close your laptop with the tasks you want to do tomorrow open. By doing this you are more likely to start working on your task as soon as you sit down and less likely to get distracted.
Use a Chrome extension to block distracting websites
There is a Chrome extension called Timewarp. This extension is great because it not only blocks a website but will redirect to a different website. You can set it to redirect from Netflix to Google Docs. This helps to avoid the temptation of distracting websites but is also turned off with the click of a button.
Walking around helps to process thoughts. Moving around, even to get a glass of water helps to think of new ideas or solutions to problems.
Put your phone out of view
Putting your phone out of your sight with make you forget about it. When you stop working to reach for your phone and don’t find it you will end up continuing to work. If you don’t have a drawer to put your phone in you can put your phone directly behind your laptop.
Hide the bookmarks toolbar
Similar to full screening your laptop, hide the bookmarks toolbar to avoid getting distracted by it and clicking on it.
Put less strain on your eyes
There is an app that make you screen orange. The orange blocks out the blue light your laptop screen emits that hurts your eyes when working at night. By reducing the strain on your eyes you can work longer and reduce the chance of getting a headache.
Put together, all these tips will drastically improve your productivity, and transform you into a better maker overall. There is nothing wrong with watching Netflix. But watching Netflix with not make you progress towards your goals. By optimizing your time you can reach your goals and watch Netflix.