Four weeks in a row I wrote blog posts while sitting on a plane (I traveled more than usual in January). Writing without internet showed me just how often I try to switch from creating to consuming. Every few sentences I would open a new tab and try to check email, Facebook, or my RSS reader. Only to be forced back to writing by my lack of internet.
This is a constant issue for me. Rather than spending large amounts of uninterrupted time creating, I switch to consuming content every chance I get.
Here’s my solution. My computer is only for creating content. That includes writing, design, programming, or any other creative task. Reading Hacker News, RSS, Instapaper, Facebook, and Twitter all belong on the iPad or phone. Enforcing a strict separation between these two types of computer use will help improve my productivity. Just the act of having to switch devices should be enough to remind me to stay on task.
If necessary you can even modify your hosts file or use a tool like Rescue Time to block some websites on your computer.
Any suggestions for those who don’t have a secondary device to use?
Update: Here is an article an A List Apart article a friend sent over: Habit Fields. Similar concept as what I wrote, but more in depth (and better written).