Do you track the time you spend on devices and apps? Block distracting websites? Keep "do not disturb" mode turned on?
Got any newfound tricks you've learned to stay focused and productive while working remotely?
I do a few things:
I got a long list of small things that keep me productive, but ill try to keep it short:
I use Superhuman for email productivity by using my keyboard. "C" to create an email, "E" to archive emails, keyboard up and down for navigation etc. Also, its possible to used CMD + K or CTRL + K to open the Command Center in their app. From there you can learn all of the available shortcuts in the app and also apply the command by pressing Enter.
I use search and lists a lot. List of top companies in a country, list of incubators, list of founders to contact, list of software to buy, list of great entrepreneurs. https://awesomelists.top/ - Software
https://www.crunchbase.com/hub/product-design-companies - Product Design Company List
Got plenty more, but ill make an Airtable to share it all for examples.
Disable all notifications that are not meant for the work im doing.
I schedule everything if It cant be done in 5 minutes
I disable all feeds or infite scrolling applications in general. I use: - Block sites totally ----- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/block-site-website-blocke/eiimnmioipafcokbfikbljfdeojpcgbh
Facebook (Remove Feed) ---- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/news-feed-eradicator-for/fjcldmjmjhkklehbacihaiopjklihlgg
Youtube --- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/remove-youtube-recommende/khncfooichmfjbepaaaebmommgaepoid
These are my main tools for being productive and manage distractions.
Everything here is great. I'd add that I use this to customize my browser tab favicons to gray circles to eliminate the red notification dots in Chrome:
And I use this to force my inbox to only refresh at odd hours of the day (9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm):
One of my favorite techniques is to lean further into distractions. I'm naturally predisposed to curiosity and a desire to learn as much as I can about topics that interest me.
I'll start the day binging youtube videos and articles on topics I'm currently passionate about, but I make the best use of this time by absorbing as much material as I can as fast as possible. Every video, audiobook, or podcast I consume is played at 2.5x speed so that I can cram as much raw knowledge into my brain as possible.
By overloading my information consumption this way, I'm able to "burn out" the daily desire to procrastinate as quickly as possible while still getting my fill of external information. This technique is largely responsible for my massive increase in productivity over the past 5 years and I directly attribute to my success.
Consume as much as you can as long as you follow these rules:
Everyday when I wake up I choose one mandatory daily objective and complete it before doing anything else, this keeps me away from distractions and I feel satisfied to have dealt with the most important task of the day, then I'm more into doing less important things because they are easier and quicker to acheive.
I don't track time formally. I worked from home for years even prior C19 so have a well-established approach. On my desk are three computers with a total of six screens. I tend to have coding on one three-screen computer & keep social stuff on one of the others, along with research & writing docs.
As a solo founder, very remote (Perth, WA), I socialise strongly online mostly via Slack. That's often open but I have notifications disabled for all bar direct references to me.
Twitter I dive into with a "four swipes scroll rule" on both desktop and mobile. I won't let myself go further.
FB and LinkedIn I basically follow notifications only & so that limits involvement.
I'm using a couple things:
Setting my mac to do not disturb does the job. I also use scrum to manage my tasks so keeping an eye on the backlog of items assigned to me tends to keep me engaged and motivated to get them done.
Phone Apps: I turned off all notifications except for messaging apps.
Laptop Apps: I turned off all notifications and tackle tasks in batches. If I can respond to something immediately, I do it and then archive. If it requires discussion, then I schedule a meeting and archive the message. If it requires dedicated time, then I block off the time on my calendar.
I take a quick break every 90 minutes or so to clear my mind, verify that I'm working on high-priority tasks, and to get energized for when I dive back in.
I added distracting sites to my hostrc file (on Windows) which adds friction, even on incognito and all browsers. On productivity, I listen to podcasts when I wash dishes, in the bathroom, or falling asleep. I put my phone in a desk drawer or leave it charging tethered to the wall.
I turn off any push notification for news! Especially now during covid. Negative thought are making you less productive
One of my greatest recent allies to fight distraction is Motion (https://www.inmotion.app/). I love their smart approach to blocking websites. I’ve been using Freedom for 4 years, but I was not fully convinced. Sometimes the blocking process was just too “binary”. The Motion approach really works better for me. 🙏
(I wrote a whole article about it, but it’s in French. 😅)
I use the techniques recommended by Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work" and "Digital Minimalism". One specific habit that has helped me be a lot more productive on a daily basis is "high resolution scheduling" where you make a plan for the whole day and also you log how you actually spend your time, using the same schedule. It was tedious, so I wrote this webapp for myself https://crushentropy.com/ for that. It is like markdown for planning your day. It was just a weekend project and I've used it regularly for the past couple of years and it has made me a lot more productive.
What’s really taking an addictive element out of your smartphone is activating greyscale mode. It’s usually located in the accessibility settings.
Further, organize everything in folders on the second page. Only keep non-distracting apps on your home screen.
If you don’t depend on them, delete all social media apps and distractions like YouTube.
There are a number of great apps that can help with this like Forest.
I find using an app on my phone that prevents me from using it, and putting do not disturb on helps out greatly.
There are a number of great focus playlists on Spotify that I will turn on as well.
Having a quiet space to work in is also important.
I also have three kids who actively work to disrupt this process... so yeah. I try my best. It is not always easy.
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