When I’m writing I do everything I can to eliminate as many distractions as possible to keep myself from being interrupted. Not being interrupted means I can maintain my focus longer, which leads to higher quality writing. This may all seem a little bit “no shit, Sherlock,” but I find myself thinking about it often.

First, I silence my phone and put it in my drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. When I’m writing, I’m writing. I don’t want to be interrupted by phone calls or text messages. Those can wait until I’m done writing. If for some reason I am expecting a call, I turn off all notifications aside from phone calls. While phones are useful tools, they seem to be more often used for distraction than creation.

With the phone away, I close all of the applications and websites I don’t need open while writing. This means no social media or email. By having only the necessary applications I need open, I don’t find my mind drifting to check what else is going on in the world. A nifty little feature in MacOS is the ability to mute notifications within the operating system. Pressing the Alt key and clicking on the icon of the three lines in the upper-right corner of the menu bar will prevent the notifications from being displayed.

Once all of the digital distractions are quelled, I clean off my desk to remove any visual distractions. If there are others home with me, I let them know that I’m writing. All that’s left is to make my writing app fullscreen and get to it.

There will always be distractions I can’t control, like noisy neighbors, but I do my best to control what I can. The time I dedicate to writing is my time to do just that. I want to do it the best that I can and make the most of my time.