It's tough to make progress at a task when a little voice in your head distracts you at every turn; silencing your inner critic will help you remain focused and stay productive during a work period.
Although I use a phrase ("Shut it down!") to essentially tell my inner critic to screw off while I'm writing, sometimes it isn't that easy. On those days, I take a page from the studies of Martin Seligman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at my beloved alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. In an interview for Oprah.com, he recommended the following three-step technique:
First you recognize that the thought is there. Then you learn to treat the thought as if it were said by some third person whose job in life was to make your life miserable. And then you learn to dispute it, to marshal evidence against it.
Do you have an inner critic? If so, how do you shut down that disparaging voice?