Hi, SE Readers. Joan here today. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself blessed to live in the twenty-first century.
While I enjoy living a simple life, I’m thankful for modern technology, especially those things that benefit me as a writer. We have word processing programs and writing software. I can’t imagine writing an 85K word novel using a manual typewriter. For that matter, an electric one.
The internet enables us to conduct research from the privacy of our home. Not that many years ago, we would have needed to pay a visit to our local library.
Let’s not forget the era of self-publishing. We don’t have to be at the mercy of large publishing houses and agents. Anyone, with a little effort, can become a published author.
This is an era of instant information. We no longer have to wait for the evening news or the morning newspaper to know what’s going on in the world.
Long distance phone calls are a thing of the past. There are cellular plans that allow nation-wide and international calling. Need a phone number? No need for a phone book, just look it up on your smartphone.
Want to get a message to someone without speaking to them on the phone? Send a text or instant message.
Unless we’re in a remote location, we’re never disconnected. And therein lays the problem.
With all our modern technology, many of us struggle to meet our daily word count goal. Even though we discipline ourselves to spend “x” amount of time with email, social media, etc., we still come up short.
Often the things designed to make our lives more comfortable are the things that distract us most. One of the biggest culprits is our smartphone. For most of us, these little devices are never far away. We keep them on our desks and pull them out at restaurants.
In a boring meeting? Just grab your phone and visit Facebook or Twitter. Need to know something in a hurry? Ask Siri. We can get push notifications from any app including offers from your favorite restaurant, social media, and the latest news.
It’s so tempting to pick up that phone to view those notices. And if you’re a bit OCD like me, it’s hard to see those little red circles saying you have thirty new emails or ten new messages. The sad thing is once you clear them, they only start again.
Recently, I decided my phone was too much of a distraction. And while I often use it at work to text coworkers or communicate through fellow employees through a secured app, I don’t need it beside me all the time.
I turned off all sound notices except for texts, phone, and the hospital’s communication app. Rather than laying the phone next to my keyboard, I keep it on the credenza behind me.
Those annoying little circles? I adjusted my setting so they won’t show except for a couple of apps. That way I’m not tempted to open email or see what notice the local TV station pushed.
My writing desk at home is smaller, and while I do keep my phone close by, I often turn it upside down so that I can’t see those banners that flash across the screen. By doing this, I’m eliminating the temptation to check every little thing that comes across the screen. Even if I don’t read the latest news headline, checking the notice takes time.
Doing this umpteen times a day can cut into valuable time designated for writing.
The things I mentioned are simple steps we can take to help maximize our productivity.
We can decide which communication methods are best for us. My family knows to either call or text me if it’s something important. Even then, when I’ve set aside a time to write and don’t want to be interrupted, I’ll tell my husband not to call or text me unless it’s an emergency. And if we want to go completely off the grid, we can set our phones to airplane mode.
What about you? Is your phone a distraction? What methods do you use to maximize your productivity?