Distractions can be found in every aspect of our daily lives – both personal and professional. From phone calls to emails to texts to meetings, unexpected interruptions can have a major impact on your productivity. That’s why it’s crucial to have a plan for keeping your productivity on track. To help and inspire you, here are five common daily distractions and ways to combat them.
1.) Email….So Many Emails!
It’s not just the constant barrage of emails coming in, it’s also the unreasonable expectation that you should respond to emails quickly. Try setting aside specific times during the day to check and respond to emails. You may also find it helpful to set boundaries with work-related emails, such as not responding after-hours or on the weekends.
2.) Phone Notifications
It takes the brain an average of 23 minutes to get back on track after a distraction – and our phones buzz on average once every 12 minutes. No wonder it’s so hard to stay focused! When you really need to focus, try putting your phone on silent and turning off unnecessary notifications. Just like with email, set specific times you’ll check your phone during the day. If you find yourself still tempted to check your phone during hours you need to be focused and productive, you may find it best to leave it in your bag or even in a completely different room if you work from home. I just turn mine off while I’m working, but I know that might not work for everyone.
Task-switching, also known as multitasking, has actually been found to hinder productivity. I am terrible at this one, but slowly getting better. All the jobs I’ve ever had required to be able to multitask and it’s a hard habit to break. So rather than trying to do multiple things at once, the most productive individuals focus on just one task at a time. If you’ve been a multitasker like me for a long time, you may find it challenging at first to just do one thing. Baby steps. Meditation can be a great way to retrain your brain to focus on the task at hand. Working from a prioritized list of tasks and taking short breaks throughout the day can also be effective ways to boost productivity.
4.) Friends & Family
We all have people in our circles that unfortunately seem oblivious to the fact that we have our own agenda and things to get done. Whether it’s a chatty coworker at the office or your mom dropping by during the day because you work from home, setting boundaries will help you stay on track and avoid unnecessary distractions. Be polite but firm, and if you want, offer an alternative time and/or place to get together.
5.) Getting Distracted By Personal Duties
With so many people now working from home, it can be tempting to try and do some personal tasks during work downtime. It’s best to set aside work hours for specifically focusing on work, and non-work hours for personal tasks. If you do choose to complete personal tasks during work hours, set aside blocks of time and use a timer to keep you focused and on task. Avoid doing this too often however, because it takes the brain a bit to regain focus after changing tasks and that time adds up!
The five common distractions I’ve outlined in this article can be extremely disruptive to our productivity. However, with a bit of organization and mindfulness, we can overcome these interruptions and stay on task. Utilizing the tips I’ve provided, like setting aside specific times for checking emails or responding to texts, focusing on one task at a time, and taking breaks throughout the day, will help you boost your productivity and avoid unnecessary distractions.
Until next time,