When you’re writing, you’ll be much more productive and happier with your work if you can avoid distractions. This is easier said than done, so here are some ideas to help you prosper.
Choose a quiet time and place to write, and make it a habit.
Writing should be a regular part of your routine, and when you schedule it, you’ll be more productive. Do it at the same time every day or every week, and don’t let anything else interfere with it. Find somewhere with plenty of light and few distractions so you can get as much writing finished as possible.
Make sure coworkers, family, and friends know you’re busy.
Let everyone know what your writing schedule is so they’ll leave you alone or bother you only if there is an urgent situation. Once you’ve made your writing time a habit, it will be easier for them to remember when you need quiet and solitude.
Create a good writing environment, especially if you’re at home.
Working from home poses even more challenges, because often people don’t take you seriously or realize that you do need some alone time to write. Family or neighbors may want your attention, or you might have pets distracting you. Ideally, you’ll have a desk in a room with a door, but if not, you may have to get creative. Don’t answer the phone; better yet, turn off the ringer. Send the dogs to a doggie daycare for the day. Write while little ones are napping, or wait for your spouse to get home and ask him or her to take care of them.
Put other tasks out of your mind.
If you work from home, everyday household tasks may distract you from writing, or if you’re at work, the phone may ring. If you tell yourself you’ll do the laundry in one hour or turn off the phone’s ringer and let calls go to voice mail, your mind will be free to focus on writing. If you have an office door, put up a note stating when you’ll be free. Then close the door.
You may be avoiding music when you write because you’ve been told it’s distracting—and it can be. When you listen to talk radio, television, or music with lyrics, it can be distracting because those words are in your brain competing with the words you’re trying to create. However, music with no lyrics, such as classical, jazz, or new age, may help you focus by acting as white noise to reduce other distractions. Earphones or headphones are even more helpful for shutting out noise.
What do you do to reduce distractions? We’d love to hear your advice in our comments section.