Limiting Distractions (Understanding Your Writing Process, Part 1)

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Understanding the elements that contribute to a successful writing session can help you optimize the time you set aside to write. Something as simple as ensuring you’ve turned your notifications off or that you’re wearing your most comfortable clothes can help limit your distractions when you write. In the first part of this series devoted to helping you recognize your optimal writing conditions, we focus on limiting distractions. 

Take this scenario as an example. You’re sitting at your workspace, the window is open, and you’ve recently posted an update on Twitter. You’ve opened all the PDFs of the articles you will incorporate into the introduction of the article you’re working on. Your mobile is set to vibrate. You’ve set aside 6 hours to write. You’ve been working on this article for about 4 months, and you’ve made some progress, but today must be the day that you near a complete draft.

To limit potential distractions, how can you control for possible calls on your senses? For instance, although your mobile is on vibrate, any Twitter notifications might interrupt you. Or, if there is street noise from the open window, can you put on headphones? If you have a list of chores you need to complete for your family in your workspace, can you move it out of sight while you write? Since you’ve opened all the article PDFs you’ll need, can you turn off the WiFi to your computer? 

It’s impossible to limit some distractions but by scanning and analyzing your workspace and thinking about how to control for various sensory interruptions, it is possible to respect the time you’ve set aside to write by limiting those potential distractions that you can. 

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