Lifehacker the bookTable of Contents → Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Firewall Your Attention

Your attention is your most endangered resource. The technical props of modern work life--email, instant messaging, mobile devices, and constant internet connectivity--make limitless amounts of information always available at the press of a button. Every minute of every day advertisements, software notifications, ringing phones, blinking voice mail signals, and buzzing pagers vie for your attention. But there are a finite number of minutes, hours, and days in your life.

Hack 7
Limit Access to Time-Wasting Web Sites

"It's too easy to scamper down the rabbit hole of the web when you've got pressing tasks to work on."

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Hack 8
Permanently Block Time-Wasting Web Sites

"Is there a web site that's utterly toxic to your mental state or ability to work? The preceding hack describes how to block time-wasting web sites during certain times of the day and week. Alternatively, you can block sites at all times, until you explicitly release the restriction."

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Hack 9
Reduce Email Interruptions

"Unread email is just another shot of the information drug your hungry mind craves. It cries out to you, 'Open me! Open me!' However, when you need to focus, do yourself a favor: actively control when you check your email."

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Hack 10
Split Your Work Among Multiple Desktops

"The more space you have to lay out your materials, the easier it is to get a job done."

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Hack 11
Build a No-fly Zone

"Many modern office spaces have open layouts to 'promote interaction between departments'--which means they're set up to distract you all day long."

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Hack 12
Filter Low-Priority Email Messages

"Millions of email messages course over the internet wire per second, and some days it feels like a big chunk of them land in your inbox. Your spam filter helps shuttle junk mail out of sight, but what about messages from cc-happy coworkers, Aunt Eunice's forwarded emails, and mailing list messages that clutter your inbox with low-priority noise?"

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Hack 13
Clear Your Desktop

"It's amazing how fast your computer's desktop can fill up with shortcuts and files and turn into a virtual candy store of colorful icons beckoning your mouse pointer: 'Click me! Click me!'"

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Hack 14
Make Your House a Usable Home

"Your home should be a tool that helps you get things done, a space that's a pleasure to be in and a launch pad for daily tasks as well as your life goals."

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Hack 15
Sentence Stuff to Death Row

"Prune your information channels down to the ones most worth your time to keep up a solid attention firewall. One technique for doing so is sentencing certain information streams to a virtual death row."

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Hack 16
Drown Out Sound with Pink Noise

"If your co-worker's conversation down the hall is distracting you, or your downstairs neighbor's television is blaring up through your floor, block out the sound with a soft static noise."

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Hack 17
Keep Software from Stealing Focus

"Ever been typing in a document or a password prompt and have a pop-up take over as the active window? It's not hard to instant message a password to a stranger or unknowingly reboot your computer because a Windows Update prompt asked while you weren't looking."

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