My top three writing distractions and how I deal with them

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
by Magdalena Bentia

One of my biggest challenges while writing is to do just that. In a society where we move on from one idea to the next rapidly, such as ten-second snapchat stories or brief tweets about our day, it is easy to lose focus on a task. Although there are a variety of things that can distract me from my work, I have narrowed it down to the top three and how I have dealt with them to increase productivity.

  1. Social Media

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I could be sitting in the library pondering a controversial study on sea slugs when my cell phone notification sounds. Suddenly, my mind is filled with questions: Did I receive the email I’ve been waiting for? Is Selena Gomez dating Justin Bieber again? Did my friend tag me in a picture where I forgot to keep my eyes open? The need to check social media is suddenly my main focus. I began searching for ways to limit this distraction besides the obvious turn your phone off an put it away. It was then that I discovered StayFocused, a chrome cast extension that blocks certain websites for a specific amount of time. For example, you have the option to block Facebook for 3 hours or for the whole day so that you can focus on your work and avoid distractions.

  1. Hunger

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The number of times I have left all my belongings to be guarded by a stranger in the library so that I could securely make the trek to the cafe is astounding. I’m not sure what it is, but sitting in one spot typing really works up an appetite. As a result, I have made it a habit to ensure that I pack enough food and water to last a day of rigorous writing; even though this may entail bringing a cooler to campus. With everything conveniently close at hand there is no reason to leave your study space!

  1. Staying on Task  

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Speaking from experience, making sure that I stick to the work assigned is largely based on the environment I am in. Unfortunately, I am not one to be able to write in the comfort of my own home alongside a cup of tea. It starts off well and the next thing I know I am reorganizing my room or taking a nap. Your environment can be a very important part of the writing process. If you work better with noise in the background you may decide to go to a coffee shop. If you can’t help but listen in on background conversations, the library may be the place to go. Nowadays you can find me working away in the silent areas on campus, away from everyday distractions.

Hopefully, you are now able to implement some of these strategies within your day to day writing or to come up with some of your own!