How To Save Time With Distraction Free Writing


Distraction has an enormous adverse impact on productivity, especially when performing tasks that require focused attention. Writers, in particular, acknowledge distraction as a major problem. So what is distraction and how do you get rid of it?

What is Distraction?

Distraction costs us a lot of time, money, thoughts lost, and many productive hours wasted

First, let’s look up the definition of distraction;

Wikipedia describes distraction as:

Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from the desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information.

It is a process, not a thing or a state that is causing us to lose something. We are losing focus on whatever we are doing. In this case, writing. That’s bad! We want to write and be done with our work… oh, look a squirrel! Wow, new cat videos, and mmm the pizza smells delicious!

Hey! Wait, where was I?

Does that sound familiar to you? Do you easily get sidetracked with just about anything? I bet you do. Same for me.

Distraction costs us a lot of time, money, thoughts lost, and many productive hours wasted.

Let us explore what causes distraction and what we can do to avoid it and save time.

What Can Distract You?

Once again, Wikipedia gives some good insight on what causes us to get distracted;

Distraction is caused by;

  • the lack of ability to pay attention
  • lack of interest in the object of attention
  • or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention.

Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. External distractions include factors such as visual triggers, social interactions, music, text messages, and phone calls. There are also internal distractions such as hunger, fatigue, illness, worrying, and daydreaming. Both external and internal distractions contribute to the interference of focus.

There are two main types of distraction – it can be internal, factors that are within ourselves, or external, factors we get from our environment.

Internal Distraction

Internal distraction comes from ourselves. We can be simply bored with the task at hand that our mind starts to wander. We could be too hungry, and all we can think about is that delicious pizza with bacon and extra cheese. Maybe you are still sore from your last workout and can’t think about anything else.

Here are five of the most common internal distractions;


Hunger can and will distract you. While some people can work longer despite the hunger pangs, most people start to lose focus as soon as hunger strikes. Just like skipping breakfast, some of us used to it are still able to work until lunchtime, while others will need the sustenance in order to function.

But in the end, everyone ends up hungry sooner or later. And as the hunger intensifies, our focus declines until we solely focus on the hunger and on getting food. Not a good situation for writing.

What you can do

Eat, it’s that simple. But don’t stuff yourself, heavy meals lead to sleepiness and lethargy.


Still tired from your last workout? Running on with too many late nights working? Long hours staring at the screen? Are your eyes exhausted? It doesn’t matter what causes your fatigue. What is important is that you can’t work if you’re too tired.

What you can do

Rest, sleep, and relax. Let your body and mind recover. When you are refreshed and rested, you can go back to your writing. Focused.


I wasn’t sure if I need to add this one, but I know for a fact that a lot of writers continue working even when they’re sick. Sure, you can write despite having a common cold. But honestly, you won’t be as effective and productive as you would be healthy and focused. Seriously, admit it.

What you can do

It’s so common sense that you should rest when you are ill. Rest, let your body recover!

Bored By The Task

Don’t want to write a paper about the mating behavior of snails? Sometimes, work can be pretty boring, and it’s such a pain trying to focus. Everything else seems to be much more interesting! Daydreaming will eventually take much of the day. Unfortunately, it is bad for us.

What you can do

This is a tough one. Learn to maintain discipline. Or you can try the more positive approach, like treating yourself with some short, fun stuff after you’re finished. You can also focus on discovering and learning some interesting part of your topic which will help you through your work.

Thoughts Are On Something Else

Still thinking about your fight with your wife this morning? Or the taco you dropped yesterday? Sometimes even the tiniest situation from our past can pop up in our mind and sidetrack us from work. All of a sudden, and it won’t go away.

What you can do

If it is big business, as a fight with your wife, try to settle it down as soon as possible and before you try working. Resolve the issue and get it off your mind. If you can’t do anything about it right now, accept the fact and make steps to ensure that you will address the problem later, as soon as you can. It helps to recover your focus.

Getting distracted every once in a while is normal. It happens to everyone. But what if you’re distracted all the time?

Mindfulness and training meditation can help diminish if not eliminate internal distractions. With both, you’ll learn to stay in the present, to not let your mind control your thoughts, and to keep unwanted memories away. These are powerful tools, and I recommend you pick up a book or join a group to learn these techniques. Here you’ll find a starting guide for meditation.

External Distraction

Basically, everything nearby can distract you. While others can work in a noisy environment, for some, even a bird chirping is too much, and they can lose focus. Here are three of the most common source of external distraction;


They can be really annoying. They usually come and move into your awareness the moment you started writing.

Husband’s asking what’s for dinner today.

Daughter’s music is hammering in your brain.

Your son is mowing the lawn just right now.

A friend is calling.

You name it. We all had those moments.

What you can do

Talk to them! Explain your situation. Set up a work station away from the traffic, try to get some private time without any interruptions, and get their commitment to not disturb you. Most of the time they will respect your terms and leave you alone. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, like when the house is burning :-)

Another way, which helped me personally a lot, is to train yourself to ignore your surroundings. It’s what they do while meditating. You will still see and notice what’s happening around you, but you will no longer pay attention to it, and therefore it ceases to disturb you. So pick up a meditation book or go to a course. It pays off.


Whether it’s your home phone or your mobile phone, it doesn’t matter. It can ring, or beep, or vibrate – and the noise will break your focus. Some people can’t stay away from their phones; even a silent phone can be so interesting that they need to check it every minute.

What you can do

Turn it off or set to silent. And put it away. Out of reach. It might be hard for you, but it is better than you constantly losing focus because of its disturbance.

Visual Distraction


So nobody is around to disturb you, and your phone is away. Still the room or even your desk have enough to get you distracted.

Be it a pile of papers.

Too many things lying around.

The mess on your desk.

Pictures on the wall.

Your action figures on the shelf.

Mostly, it is not a single thing. It is the composition of them and the amount of stuff in sight. Your eyes scan the surroundings nonetheless, and when something catches your attention, your focus is broken. Too much stuff around you could mean jumping from one focus point to another.

when something catches your attention, your focus is broken

Never resting.

That drains your focus.

Exhausts your eyes.

Also your brain.

And gone is your writing session with nothing done.

What you can do

Simplicity. Try to remove everything that grabs your attention and focus away from your working area. If it needs to stay, it must be for a really good reason. Otherwise, remove it. If it stays, try to put it into a different place. Is it still distracting you? Maybe you can replace it with something similar? In another color?

There’s a reason why minimalists love black and white. Clean lines and basic colors are least likely to distract you.

They might be boring sometimes. You might prefer to add light pastel colors but stay away from too bright hues. And never use neon paint for the wall behind your screen or your desk.

Clean your desk. At best, there should only be your screen, the keyboard, and a mouse.

Great, now we are done. You can start working.

Nope, not so fast.

When you get this far, you already got a pretty good setup and is already saving much time. But you can still take it a step further.

Go Full Distraction Free Writing

What else do you need to do? The one thing that most people do not realize and totally ignore.

Go for distraction free writing and stay in the flow

Clear your screen entirely.

Yep. The stuff on your computer and especially your screen is really important. The sound and visuals will easily distract you.

Mail program closed?

Facebook turned off?

Do you really need the taskbar right now?

Do you need all the toolbars and menus in your writing program?

Close them all off and enter the distraction free writing mode.

Now it’s just you and your text.

Enjoy the flow.

A top notch timesaver! Don’t miss it.


Remove everything that distracts you from your working place. Be it people, noise or visuals. Clean your desk, clean your screen and only have your writing. You will be amazed how you can focus easier and stay longer in the flow. As a result, you increased your productivity, worked faster, got better output, and saved a lot of time.

Moopato helps me writing distraction free

Moopato can help you benefit more from the last step of distraction-free writing.

When you learned something, please share this article with your friends.