Limiting Distractions

How many times do you crave just an hour of being in the zone? By the zone, that moment of time where you and the code are one, you know what you want to do and it seems like your thoughts just flow and your productivity is at an all time high. How many times when you are in this state do you get one of the following:

  • An email with a red exclamation point
  • A Twitter or FaceBook notification
  • A phone call or a text
  • Someone walking over to your desk/cube

These are just some of the distractions you will face and they will keep you from your most productive period of the day. Often times, it takes about 20-30 minutes to get back in the zone from a 5 minute interuption. You have a few of these during your 2-3 hour burst of work, you will get very little done. Here’s a few tips to help you stay in your coding zone:

  1. Turn Off Your Email, TweetDeck, FaceBook, Instant Messenger and Cell Phone
  2. If you can’t get away from your cube or close your office door, try putting a sign outside your cube, that say’s something like: “Very Busy, Email Me or Talk To Boss”
  3. Put in your ear-buds and listen to music or your iPod, sometimes just having them there when your listening or not gives people time to read your sign.
  4. Work from home, or book a conference room for just yourself.
  5. Pick what you want to focus on before you start and what your stopping point is, i.e. get this component unit-tested.

I hope you find these tips useful, while the sign idea could create some controversy, it will send a message to those that interrupt you the most and teach them to be more aware of how distracting they are to you and your productivity.