In a perfect world you would be so focused on your work that nothing could distract you. But in the real world, it rarely works that way. So how do you deal with inevitable distractions and keep your productivity levels high?1. Identify your distractions. There are so many different things that can cause you to feel distracted:
- Are constant phone calls and emails that seem to need urgent replies keeping you from your other work?
- Do you have co-workers who are always unexpectedly stopping by your desk to have conversations?
- Are you getting pulled down the social media “rabbit hole”? Even if you only plan to check your feed for a moment, you can waste hours without even realizing it.
- If you work from home, do you feel the tug of household duties and chores pulling you away from work?
Even if you’re surrounded with distractions, once you have identified them, you can set up a work environment to combat them and be productive.
2. Establish priorities for your day. With most business it’s impossible to avoid phone calls and emails that need to be returned. But what you can do is set aside a specific time of day that you’ll handle those replies.For example, you may decide that the first thing you’ll do each morning is respond to any new emails or phone calls and that you’ll do so twice more at different times throughout the day.
3. Shut down distractions. Send calls to voicemail and shut down your email window. While this doesn’t work for every office environment, it can work for many.
If you really enjoy social media or social time with co-workers, schedule it instead of letting it become a distraction. For example, plan your lunch break to be a time to relax, or schedule two or three 10-minute breaks throughout the day for social time. Knowing that time is coming can help you stay motivated to be on task the rest of the time.
If you work from home, make sure you set boundaries with the people in your life so that your work takes priority.
You don’t have to answer every phone call. And if you feel household chores calling your name on a daily basis, schedule time to work on those so that you don’t have to spend time thinking about them.
4. Write it down. Finally, if you’re distracted by ideas that hit you throughout the day it’s a good idea to write them down. Keep a notepad or your Unlock Your Potential Planner nearby so that you can write them down and give yourself permission to come back to them later.
While we can’t realistically eliminate all distractions from our lives, following these four steps will help to reduce them and boost your overall productivity. Don’t forget, blocking out time for specific tasks and taking notes in your planner are great ways to reinforce your new strategies for dealing with distractions.