Can you imagine a tight rope walker performing his craft 300 feet high and then suddenly his cell phone goes off? The question is would he answer it or wait until he made it to his destination?
I think we all know the answer to that.
Distractions can kill productivity in a split second leaving you scratching your head wondering where the day went.
I have encountered some of the biggest distractions during my work day and it really jacks my mind up. Whether it's a chatty friend sitting next to me, social media updates or the wonderful ding that another email came in. I finally had enough and had to buckle down and cut out those distractions and re-visit them at a more opportune time.
Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, social media and sometimes email but come on man, there is a time and a place for everything.
One of the worst things you can subject yourself to is unnecessary distractions during your work day. It not only is a time killer it can cause unneeded stress.
Here are some of my methods of eliminating distractions throughout my day, sometimes it isn't easy but at the end of the day I find myself getting a heck of a lot more accomplished.
The WinWithFred guide on how to increase productivity
Tip #1 – I Work alone most of the time. This is probably one of the hardest ones to do because when you work from home it can get a bit lonely. I love hanging with other people at the coffee shop from time to time but I have come to realize I can get twice as much done in half the time. I do take a day or two out of the week to meet up with my friends but can't do it everyday. Working alone doesn't mean you have to be a hobbit in the house or office. Take the time to venture out to various places with wi-fi, this will spark creativity.
If I am with a group and I am in focus mode I put a pair of headphones on and zone out. I feel that sometimes it may come off rude but people should understand if you give them heads up.
Trust me, I am a talker myself but when it's go time I am better off going solo.
Tip #2 – Social Media can wait – I shut it down, No exception. When I first started working from home I found myself looking at social media for 2 – 3 hours a day. I understand how important social media is for networking but I leave myself an allotted amount of time to network, answer questions, and catch up. This goes for every social media portal.
I just find it much easier to do it this way because if I am focused on something I am the type of person that wants to get it done sooner than later. Your best bet is to make it a main focus for around a half an hour unless you are doing a webinar and plan on engaging through social media. You do however want to make sure you answer any questions and engage during that time period.
Tip #3 – Tabs can multiply like Gremlins – As your reading this look up and see how may tabs you have open. If you have 3 or more tabs open your setting yourself up to click on one of those tabs and lose focus. I usually bookmark an interesting page I want to look into and revisit it later that night.
When I started online I think I averaged as many tabs opened as Lebron James scoring average, it was sick. Keep your opened tabs to a minimum, this is a really good tip for the ADD type like myself.
Tip #4 – The cell phone dilemma solved – This one is a difficult one but there are ways of controlling it. The best way of doing it is to make it clear to friends and family to please call only if it's an emergency during certain times. My wife however has 24 hour access, but she knows when I'm in the zone. You however want to keep the line open for your clients.
Tip #5 – Skype – This is a main portal for business during the day. A message or a call can pop up out of nowhere when I'm in the zone. I usually leave this on available for the most part but if I am shooting a video or doing a podcast I go incognito and put it on do not disturb. At the end of my task I put it back in motion to make sure someone didn't try to get a hold of me. If you put do not disturb put a status on your Skype that you will be on shortly and to leave a message. Also, try to schedule out meetings on Skype and make sure they don't conflict with other important tasks.
Tip #6 – Texting – I don't respond until the end of the day unless it's important, and if it is extremely important I would hope to get a call instead of a text. This is another thing that can be a giant distraction and I don't like ignoring them, I just feel that responding to them can wait until the end of the day. It's a case by case basis I guess you could say.
If you can control the distractions during your work day an 8 – 10 hour day can turn into a 4 – 5 hour day.
Just think of how many things you could do with that extra time. There hasn't been a day that has gone by where I have been 100% distraction free, but I can tell you it has gotten a heck of a lot better since I have implemented some of these habits.
I would love to get your thoughts if you feel I have missed anything or how you deal with distractions during the day. I really hope that some of these tips will improve your productivity and give you more time to spend doing the things that you love to do.