Guest Post by Brenda Savoie
Distractions are everywhere. We deal with them at home, we deal with them when we relax, and we deal with them especially when we work. When this happens, our productivity levels begin to drop, and our superiors won’t be happy about that.
Nevertheless, distractions tend to be very annoying. They’re the leading causes of stress and disappointment at the end of the day. Why?
Distractions are the biggest enemy of hard work. We have prepared some insightful tips and tricks on how to avoid your life distractions and stay focused on work.
1. Plan Your Day
The first and most important thing you should do in order to ensure productive days is to plan your day. Brian Tracy once said that 1 minute of planning saves 10 minutes in action. What he says is actually true. You can save so much time by already knowing what you have to do.
Start planning your schedule – note down the first things that you’re going to do in the morning and then follow up with the rest of the day. Of course, distractions might appear, so you have to prepare for those too. Predict a few distractions and note them down – it’ll be much easier to avoid them this way.
2. Get Rid of Time-Consuming Apps
Digital apps are cool and useful, I know. We’ve got very used to them, but unfortunately, they tend to represent a huge distraction. Social media, for example, is such a time waster if used wrong.
Anne Watson, HR manager at Essayontime: “Scrolling down for posts, stalking people on Facebook, and watching funny videos on YouTube during “small break” …it all takes your mind away from your responsibilities.”
There are plenty of tools that can help you block different websites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. Find out what eats most of your time and make sure you never open it again during your working hours.
3. Focus on Effective Work Time
My definition of effective time looks like this:
“Effective work time” is when you are sitting at the desk, already engaged and focused on your work. Then, you can start tracking your effective work hours. You’ll be amazed to see that from 12 hours of work, you barely reach 6 of effective time.
In fact, most people work an average of 2 hours per day (I’m talking about employees). You know why? Because the rest of the fuss – meetings, colleagues, breaks, Facebook, Snapchat…this isn’t effective time.
4. Use Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is quite simple: you work 25 minutes (effective time) and you take a break of 5 minutes after. The moment the 5 minutes are gone, you start your next 25 minutes of effective work. Practice this technique over and over again until you accomplish the desired number of “Pomodoros”
This has proven to be very effective, as you don’t have to worry about how boring your work is. You can just focus on those 25 minutes and that’s it. You’re free after. Also, the Pomodoro technique is a great distractions blocker, because if you allow distractions, you’re basically breaking the rules and have to start over.
5. Learn to Say No to Colleagues and Friends
You might believe that saying “Yes” to different requests and calls-for-help are going to do you good. Maybe you believe in karma, or you’re just a kind person.
Well, you need to stop. If you consider yourself to be a professional, you need to learn how to say “No” to these types of distractions. Let everyone know that you’re trying to maintain your focus and that you’ll be available later.
6. Always Break Big Tasks into Smaller Ones
Big tasks are terrifying. When you set a bigger-than-usual goal, it’ll often seem impossible to reach. All the steps that need to be gone through, and all the hustle that needs to be made…way too hard!
In addition, big challenges and projects almost always cause procrastination. Well, and you really know where procrastination leads! Start breaking all of your bigger tasks into very small ones. Focus on each and make slow but steady progress.
7. Take a Break once in a While
Too much work is not too advised also. In order to be productive and stay focused on the task, we need to take small but effective breaks. These will help us clear our minds and get back to work fresh.
For example, you can leverage your weekends and spend them with your family. Go to nice places, see some new things, and enjoy the nature. Stop thinking about work!
8. Create a Friendly Work Environment
If your work environment is cluttered, filled with unnecessary objects that just fill the room, you need to make a change. Keep everything clean and organized. It gives you the proper mood, and it’s also nicer for the eye.
Also, you should analyze the place you’re working. For some, working at home might be terrible because they get so many distractions. The solution? Rent an office or go to the library.
9. Be Aware that Stress Affects Your Productivity
If you know that being stressed is only going to lead to worse things, you can minimize its effects. For example, when you’re caught up in traffic, and you need to arrive at work in order to deliver a deadline.
You can’t do anything except wait. Instead of stressing yourself out, become aware that you cannot influence the situation. Understand that stress is very damaging, and block it from your life.
10. Implement Tiny & Productive Habits
Tiny habits that take no longer than 30 seconds can really build up into something bigger. If you want productivity, you need to implement productivity habits. These habits, if built up properly, can and will lead to a consistent productivity and lesser distractions.
11. Just Try to Focus More
The last advice? Do better than you do now. It is said that we can do so many more things other than what we believe that we can. If you put up more effort and commitment, you will be able to maintain your focus for longer and just keep distractions out of your life.
If you’ve read this article and you’re not applying any of these insightful tips, you’ve done…quite nothing. Start taking action and minimize your distractions as much as you can. Once you learn how to do it, work will be five times more productive!
Brenda Savoie is a content marketer at Essayontime, productivity coach, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romantic novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.