Readersforum's Blog

October 21, 2012

Some Advice From Authors on Avoiding Online Distractions

By NICK BILTON
I was going to start writing this post a couple of hours ago, but I got distracted. At first I checked Twitter — lots of chatter about the debate there. Then I did a side-shuffle to Facebook, where I saw a friend just purchased a lovely new plant! Then Tumblr, to look at some funny animated gifs of Fearless Felix. Then Instagram. Then Twitter again. (And don’t get me started on the distractions luring my editor, who was supposed to post this hours ago!)

Although all of these distractions are wonderful for our creativity and sanity, they can also be incredibly unproductive when it’s time to get some real work done. Even for someone like me, who relies on Twitter and Facebook for reporting and sharing articles, it is important to turn it all off. (After all, Steven Spielberg probably doesn’t watch a movie while he’s directing one.)

Lately I’ve been experimenting with new ways to keep my distractions to a minimum, especially when I have a looming deadline. In the morning I now use an hourglass to ward off distractions. Once it’s flipped, my phone goes into Airplane Mode and I completely turn off the Internet in my home. I don’t allow myself to enter the Web’s vortex until every last grain of sand has drained into the base of the hourglass.

I reached out to a few authors to find out what they do to fight their urges to “Like” an animated gif or become lost in the labyrinth of Twitter. This is their advice:

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