Do you know how to deal with distractions?

Last updated by Brady Stroud [SSW] about 1 month ago.See history

Keeping your mind on the job is very important, especially when you're trying to fix a bug/issue or finalize a task to meet this afternoon's deadline. Here is how you keep "in the zone":

  1. Refer people to standards and you will be helping them learn + reducing the number of interruptions they get. This is why we invest in the SSW Rules.
  2. Avoid multi-tasking as much as possible. Don't open an email, respond to half the questions, and then open another. Complete the first task and then delete the email. When you multi-task, there’s a higher chance your work quality will be dropped, as well as your attention to detail.
  3. Set your Browser's default to "About: Blank" so you don't get distracted by news or social media, for example. Tip: There is an extension for Google Chrome to replace your homepage called Momentum, where you will be shown a photograph as the background, time, greetings, and your own focus for the day.
  4. Minimize Phone distractions. If you are in a meeting, it’s a good idea to put your mobile phone to “do not disturb”.
  5. Minimize Microsoft Teams distractions.
  6. Minimize Outlook distractions.
  7. Minimize Skype distractions.
  8. People should avoid distracting you - using IM unnecessarily can be evil. See Do you know important chats should be in an email?
  9. People will interrupt you less if you let them know what you are working on. Tip: Use the Teams status to let people know what you are doing (saves them having to ask you). See Do you use the status message in Teams?
  10. Whenever you can, programming/working in pairs is great as it means you will be forced to focus, you won't cruise the web, or play Solitaire.
  11. Use a concentration technique, such as Pomodoro.

Square SM photos
Figure: Multi-tasking can be your deadline's enemy

Figure: The Pomodoro technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

Adam Cogan
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