How to Stay Focused on Your Project

I made an interesting observation the other day. I had a couple hours to kill before picking up my wife from class so I stopped at a Borders bookstore to browse the latest tech books and work on the next update to CaptionIt! I swung by the cafe section, ordered a latte and fired up my MacBook Pro to do some coding. Borders does not offer free WiFi, instead they force you to sign up for T-mobile. Lame and definitely not worth it for the couple hours I was going to be there.

Not having Internet access was incredibly productive! I entered what is known as a state of ‘Flow’, defined by wikipedia as “…the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” The two hours flew by and I had gotten a lot done.

Having easy internet access is just too distracting and makes it difficult to stay focused. My current rule now is to close all web browser and email programs for at least an hour when I want to work on my project. If I have to look something up online, I fire up the browser, find the answer and quickly shut down the browser. I do not leave it open, tantilizing me with Youtube videos or worse. Give it a try!

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