When it is time to buckle down and get stuff done, do you gear yourself up to work hard?
Or do you take the time to remove distractions and allow yourself to focus on the task at hand? Do you make the time in your schedule to work on the task uninterrupted?
I recently watched my teenage daughter as she prepared to start a 5 page paper that was due the next day. She had all afternoon to write it and she had read the material, so there were no issues there.
But she had her iPad going next to the laptop, with an episode of "Friends" on while she was typing the paper. And she was in the dining room, in ear shot of everything that was happening within the house on that particular Sunday. She ended up completing the paper on time, but it took her many hours to write up something that she was quite knowledgeable about. Why did it take her so long?
For starters, she didn't pick a place where distractions were a minimum. Being in the dining room on a Sunday afternoon while people are watching the football game, etc. is not the right location. And then there is the iPad. She swears that she functions better while multi-tasking, but studies have shown that multi-tasking is a fallacy.
It is OK to wear earphones to block out background noise if you're a cube-dweller, but make sure it is something that you're not going to be tempted to sing along to. Instramental music or white-noise is best. There are several white-noise generators for smartphones and even on the web. I have a bookmark for http://simplynoise.com/ right in my tool bar.
Remember, friends don't let friends multi-task. FOCUS! :-)