How to avoid distraction and get things done

Business teamHands up who gets distracted at work? Depending on your workplace or industry, there are many types of distractions that barrage us every day, clamouring for attention and breaking your focus. Completing a task well, no matter what it   is, requires a certain amount of time and concentration – if your mind is all over the place, this chaos spills into your work. You might find yourself missing deadlines, making rookie errors or completing tasks at a substandard level. This is all going to add up to a crappy day/week/month!

So how can you avoid distraction and get things done?

Set a Schedule – one of the most liberating things about being your own boss is being able to set your own hours. This can actually be a blessing and a curse! If you don’t set aside time each week to do the kinds of tasks that need your focus you will fall behind and let things slide…cue feeling of overwhelm and despair! It could be as simple as, Tuesday afternoons is when I write content for my website, and Wednesday morning is when I invoice. The real key is that you have to stick to the schedule. This will help to segment your time, allow you to focus on the tasks at hand and free your mind of clutter.

Check Only Twice – Time Ferris of 4 Hour Work Week fame advocates only checking email twice a day. This is not an uncommon suggestion amongst productivity experts. The repetitive nature of checking in on your account, opening, reading and replying to emails/tweets/posts might seem like just a moment in time, but in reality it is slowing sucking away your available work hours…with very little result. By checking your accounts (including, emails, social media etc.) only twice a day you are spending focused time on that specific task rather than spreading it out in an unquantified and unproductive way.

Minimise Technology – Like in the point before – by minimising and restricting your access to the pesky technologies that drain your focus, you can free your mind to focus on the tasks at hand. If you have a project that needs to be completed, turn off your phone, shut down your non-essential screens and turn your attention to the job that matters. If you shudder at the thought of going completely offline, let those around you know that you need space without distraction and to not try and contact you during this period.

Clear the Clutter – Literally. Before you sit down to work, clear your desk of non-essential items, do the dishes (if you work from home,) make yourself a cuppa and prepare for the task ahead. Childhood educators Montessori advocate “a place for everything, and everything in its place” which helps their pupils with concentration and organisation – a principle that can be applied to the adult workforce I think!

The above are just a few hot tips that I’ve gleaned myself through some serious hair pulling and the genuine desire to want to work smarter, not harder. Of course, with anything – avoiding distraction requires mindfulness and determination. You need to recognise that becoming distracted is affecting your work, and then spend some time dedicated to minimising its effects. When you find out what works for you, put it into practise in your daily routine and watch your productivity blossom.

Related posts:

Are you Labelling your Files Correctly?
Are you working as an employee in your own business?
Are You in a State of Overwhelm in your Business? Where to Look First for Help

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