Treat your writing like driving – better without distractions

In short, notifications = distractions. Here’s a great writing and editing tip from software entrepreneur Paul Jarvis in one of his regular Sunday Dispatches: “Nowadays I treat my work time as if I’m driving.”

He says: “If we aren’t paying attention to our work, we’re not going to be able to do it properly. We may not cause a crash, but we won’t be able to get things done effectively or efficiently either.”

Paul focuses on electronic notifications, but distractions can be from a range of sources:

  • notifications from digital devices about new emails or social media messages
  • ringing phones
  • noise from within or outside the workspace
  • blinking or flashing lights
  • other people and interruptions
  • an environment which is too hot or cold
  • clocks ticking over to a deadline.

Everyone has different distractions. Listening to music is a distraction for me, but it may work for you.

To focus on your writing and editing, minimise distractions.

  • Turn off notifications on computers and other technology devices.
  • Minimise software and apps open.
  • Wear headphones or ear muffs to block out noise, choosing the highest quality that works.
  • Reply to contacts when it suits you, not instantly.
  • Schedule regular breaks so you know when you can be distracted.

In early 2019, Paul published Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business, the outcome of writing without distractions.

If you have distractions while writing and need an undistracted, fully focused editor, please contact me at rhdaniels@bigpond.com

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