distraction-freePeople all over are complaining about their ability to focus and get a lot of things done quickly. What if I told you that the solution to this problem is really very simple? All you have to do to increase your productivity is get rid of the myriad distractions modern technology provides us with. Of course actually making this strategy work requires a bit of self-discipline, and therein lies the rub.

In this age of digital communication, we surround ourselves with all kinds of distractions. Most of them have a useful purpose, but only if used correctly. When our short-term goals are to think or write having a lot of distractions at hand is more harmful than helpful. If you get rid of all the non-essentials when you’re really busy, you’ll be more focused and productive. Even more importantly, you’ll save time and make your day a lot shorter.

For me, going into productive mode means setting my IM status to  invisible, logging off of Facebook and closing Twitterific. That’s enough for some projects, but especially for students, sometimes the best strategy is to leave the computer behind entirely. Just focus on your offline research and do the online stuff later. Don’t forget the power of location either. If you don’t have to be at a specific desk, find a place where you are really comfortable, relaxed and free from interruption.

The precise details of the strategy you implement to escape distraction are up to you, but the important thing is to be disciplined. The very reason that Twitter, IM and Facebook are such big distractions is that we enjoy the time we spend on them. Giving them up requires a bit of effort, but it’s an effort that will pay big dividends in things accomplished and time saved.

Perhaps even more important than the time you will save, your extra productivity will make you feel good about yourself. You won’t have the nagging feeling that you’re wasting time. Instead you’ll feel proud of your new-found self discipline and all the things it helped you to accomplish.

What are your favorite ways to escape distraction and increase your productivity?