How Do You Handle Distractions?

Some people use headphones or a closed door to tell office mates when they’d rather not be disturbed. Some resort to web plugins to block certain websites that are just too good to resist (I’m looking at you, Facebook and ApartmentTherapy!). Others could work just fine with the TV blaring, phone ringing, and small children screaming incoherently.

How do you deal with distractions?

Do you put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign? Lock yourself in a secluded room without TV or phone service? Or are you one of those lucky few who don’t get fazed by noise or other disruptions?

As a work-at-home freelance writer without kids or pets, I don’t have many of the same distractions that office workers or even work-at-home parents have. Still, there are plenty of cyber-distractions threatening to hijack my productivity. I give myself a few minutes of Facebook and Twitter time each day (after all, social media is like my virtual water cooler and without it out I might go stir crazy all day by myself). Then it’s “back to work, missy.” Occasionally, when deadlines loom and household chores beckon, I might escape to the library or coffee shop.

What about you?  While there are some suggestions here, we want to hear from our WorkAwesome readership…let us know in the comments.

Susan Johnston is a freelance writer/blogger who has contributed to publications including The Boston Globe,’s blog,, and Yahoo! HotJobs. Her own blog,, covers tips on productivity, brainstorming, and more for fellow writers.


  1. Daniel on the 7th June

    Yeah the library is a good one. Always provides a good environment for a few hours of solid focus..

  2. Stephanie on the 8th June

    I wrote a blog post on dealing with distractions yesterday. In it, I listed down 4 things that I do to keep me from being distracted.

    1. Keep my eyes on the time, particularly the little clock on the bottom right of my monitor.
    2. Reminders.
    3. Closing the door, bringing down the window blinds, and turning off iTunes 😉
    4. Reward myself.

    The post is here:

  3. Cesare on the 8th June

    Pomodoro helps me:

    First I try to postpone interruption (can’t we do in < 25 mins). If impossible I interrupt but I log the interruption.
    At the en of the day I know whom to ascribe fault (me, phone, girlfriend, overwhelming client, whatever)

  4. Sarvesh on the 8th June

    Two Words. Pomodoro Technique.

  5. Cudazi on the 8th June

    To avoid people coming up and chatting, I usually just stick headphones in, music or not…

  6. Luckily, I do not have many (or any) distractions.

    I work from home, and I am 22. So I have no obligations. No one at home disturbs me, as they know I am working.

    I also do not get distracted my self, as I concentrate on my work, as I know my goals (both short term i.e. the tasks/goals for the day and long term goals).


  7. Robert on the 9th June

    I think the place of work is also very important. When you work at home like a freelancer, I think it’s important to seperate work and private places in your home. I have a few more tips on our blog:
    if you like, you can check it out.

  8. Boris Köster on the 19th February

    My 5 cent: Keep your focus on all areas not only one, don’t let other control your life, say no, say it again if required.

    Best regards
    Boris Köster
    X-ITEC IT-Consulting

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