It’s near impossible to avoid every single distraction during a busy workday, but Holiday recommends setting boundaries for what you can control. For example, “I don’t have iMessage on the computer that I write on,” he notes. “I don’t want my computer to be sending me texts or phone calls while I’m trying to write.” That’s an easy way to avoid potential distractions before they even arise—the same goes for “do not disturb” settings on your phone.
On the subject of phones, Holiday also has a strict, “no phone first thing in the morning” rule. “I don’t sleep with my phone in the room with me, and I don’t open my phone for the first 30 minutes to one hour that I’m awake each day,” he adds. “I’m setting boundaries and systems that prevent the interruption from happening.” Some distractions are ultimately inevitable, but you do have the power to mitigate them, to an extent.