Automation & Efficiency

How to Gain Freedom from Distractions as a Lawyer

It can be hard to focus sometimes. There’s always an email, or a quick chat with a coworker or 10 minutes spent scrolling Instagram that takes you away from your to-do list. I’m guilty of them all (although I did find a great way to minimze the impact of email on my day). Especially when I don’t want to work on something (hello, motion), I will find anything else I can do and convince myself that focusing on the other thing is what I really need to be doing. When the distraction wins, I wonder where the time went. My stress increases, because of course, the thing I needed to get done is still staring back at me, untouched.

The best way I’ve found to help myself focus is to change my environment. Sometimes the change is entirely physical. I work away from my desk. I take a walk down to the local coffee shop or hide in the back corner of a bookstore. The change in scenery eliminates my normal triggers for distraction and I plough through some serious work.

When changing my physical location isn’t an option or when the change itself becomes a trigger for distraction (“John Maxwell has another new book out? I must go see!”), I change my everyday environment to make it more difficult to get distracted. By adding friction to distractions, it takes less energy, and is therefore easier, to stay focused.

Using tools like Freedom to temporarily make it harder or even impossible to get distracted is a great way to add friction. Freedom is a software that blocks distractions like websites and apps on your phone or desktop. It works with Mac, Windows, Android, or iOS and syncs across all your devices to help you stay focused when you need to. You set the schedule of when you want to be focused, and it does the rest. While it does have a small cost ($7/month or $29/year), you will quickly pay for it with the time you save not being distracted.

If Freedom doesn’t jive with you, there are several other distraction-blocking apps out there to choose from:

If you have trouble staying focused, consider making changes to your environment so that it takes less energy to get the work done than it does to get distracted. Find what works best for you and get working!

This is not an ad. I do not endorse or receive compensation from any tools mentioned.

What distracts you the most? When you do you find you are most tempted to be distracted? How can you change your environment to stay focused?