When you’re doing scary creative work, or work that requires emotional labor, it’s natural to want to walk away a bit. To distract yourself. To go shave a yak, mindlessly eat or bother someone in the next cube.
This is the main activity online, actually. People avoiding the real work.
One useful practice is to have forced choices that break up the work but that are also productive. Not fun, that would be a mistake, but productive.
Example: For the next hour, we either need to be developing a brand new strategy for your widget rollout or re-filing forty 1099s. One or the other, switch when you want to. If it gets too scary on the brand side, let’s do some mindless filing.
Or perhaps it’s answering HelpScout requests. Or auditing a specific set of financials.
The key is that it be something both important and unfun.
It’s a no-win situation. Unless you want to think of it as a no-lose situation.
It turns every distraction (in either direction) into a contribution.