Arrived at Starbucks to get some work done:
Read Twitter updates…Checked!
Respond to Twitter DM…Done!
Respond to emails…Done!
Why am I here again…Oh yeah, to get some work done. Here are 5 tips that help me complete tasks without losing track of time in the black hole of social media or just plan old fashion distractions.
1) Close the Door!
In the office my team knows to not disturb me when my door is shut. But even with the door shut other people’s urgency can often become my issue, or the phone can ring, unscheduled appointments drop by. Oh yeah, don’t forget the elementary basketball teams practicing in the gym above my office. When these “blessed interruptions” continue it is time to head out and study.
You can’t shut your door in Starbucks unless you take your work to the **restroom. When I go out to study I try to sit in a low traffic area or sit with my back to the distractions.
I actually like the atmospheric noise of a restaurant or coffee shop but there are time when i just need to block it all out. My favorite headphones, Bose® QuietComfort® 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones ($349), were a gift and they are amazing at blocking out sound. When I am not using those I have my ZAGGsmartbuds ($49) with me playing Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Saxon Shore, or a Beastie Boys Instrumental. Why these albums? Because they are noise with little recognizable words. They have become a distraction scrambler for this A.D.D. brain of mine.
3)Hit the Off Switch
You may need to use the internet in your study time but if it is not necessary turn it off. While you are at it turn your phone off, or at least set it to silent. If you need to check voice mail do it periodically.
(Cell Phone Tip: The only people I need to hear from when I am away are my wife and my ministry assistant. Instead of setting my phone to silent, I created a ringtone that is 10 seconds of silence. When I activate that as the “default” ringtone I set my wife’s and assistant’s ringtone from “default” to anything with sound).
Concentrate! Timer ($.99) is a great app for iPhone and iPad that counts down your work time and your breaks. Want to take a 12 minute break every 48 minutes? Want to work for 30 minutes and take a 20 minute break? Set it and get to it! I set this app and then crank away at my workload. I reward myself with breaks where I can check my facebook, twitter, email. When the break timer rings I go back to work (taking healthy breaks or productively wasting time…you decide). It is way cooler than I am making it sound…at least I think it is. Check out Concentrate! Timer.
5) iA Writer
Recently I have been writing “The Wired Ministry” column for Group Magazine in iA Writer with my iPad and bluetooth keyboard. This app is a distraction free word processor. When you open iA all you see is a white screen with character, word counts, and a couple other things to help you navigate. Bottom line is this app, for your Mac ($8.99) and iOS ($.99) devices, is inexpensive and so good.
**mental note, take “Out of Order” sign to Starbucks next week.