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Zadie Smith's Productivity Tips Will Make You A More Focused Person

Step 1: Turn off the internet. Step 2: Write.

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Zadie Smith is a brilliant and productive human being

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Smith teaches at NYU's creative writing program, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has published four critically acclaimed novels and a collection of essays. Basically, she's killing it.

But, like all of us, she has a hard time resisting the Internet's siren song

Which is why Smith cuts herself off when she writes. "If I could control myself online, if I wasn't going to go down a Beyoncé Google hole for four and a half hours, this wouldn't be a problem. But that is exactly what I'll do," she says. "It's not some kind of high moral ground, it's that I so want to [write], that I just have to get it done. And everything else has to take a backseat."

In a recent episode of the BuzzFeed podcast Women Of The Hour, Smith shared some Internet-related productivity tips we could all benefit from

(The interview starts at 3:00)

If the phrase "Instagram feed" makes your fingers itch, ditch your smartphone for something low-tech

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"First I got the flip phone," says Smith. It slows down all of her communications. "Particularly when you're having a text argument with your husband... It's like a medieval process," she says.


When your word processor is on the same computer that connects you to THE ENTIRE INTERNET, set some boundaries

Smith uses site-blocking apps like Self Control and Freedom to block Facebook and Twitter.

Reading a good book can teach you how to focus like a writer

Instagram: @landysawesome

"It might not always feel meditative, but when the book is very good you'll notice it is because time passes in a strange way in a book you love," says Smith. "[That's] four hours you didn't even notice, you haven't even moved from the sofa. To me that's kind of the ideal writing mind."

Meg Cramer is an audio producer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Meg Cramer at

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