10 ways to reduce distractions and boost your productivity
Being in control of how we spend our time is more important than ever, however in a world of increasing distractions, it can be hard to find and maintain focus with so many things jostling for our attention.
It can be particularly hard to stay motivated and productive during the warmer summer months, with our minds wandering to thoughts of sun, beaches and pina coladas!
Recent research has shown that the average employee spends 50% of their time on distractions.
Social media, the internet, email, Slack notifications, people or pets can easily distract us from our tasks and to-dos but it is possible to reduce distractions and develop a more positive relationship with them.
Below, I share ten techniques that will help you to reduce distractions, find your focus and boost your productivity.
1. Eat the frog
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by a heavy workload or trying to balance a multitude of projects and tasks.
Eat that frog is a strategy that helps you to focus on your hardest or least pleasant tasks. The idea is you identify these tasks (your frogs) and you tackle (eat them) first thing in the morning.
It comes from Mark Twain’s quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it firsts thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
2. Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro Technique is a popular method, where you break down your tasks into 25-minute intervals, followed by a five-minute break. Repeat the process four times, and then take a thirty-minute break. This technique helps break down your workload into manageable chunks with breaks to help you to recharge.
3. Time Blocking
Time blocking is where you schedule specific times for each of your tasks. This helps to prioritise your work and provides a visual representation of how long each task will take. It also helps you focus on one task at a time without worrying about what comes next.
Solotasking, also known as mono tasking involves tackling one task at a time, rather than flitting between tasks. This will help you to ‘stay in the zone’ with one task without flitting between tasks.
5. Declutter your workspace
Physical clutter creates mental clutter. Put everyday objects in drawers or shelves, use an in-tray and file/throw away paper to help create order and organisation. Remember “a tidy desk is a tidy mind.”
6. Create blocks of time for email
The interruption of emails cascading into our inbox is a big source of distraction.
Check/write/reply to email in blocks of time throughout the day, e.g. at the start of the day, before/after lunch and at the end of the day rather than keeping email open all the time.
7. Take regular breaks
Breaks help to:
- improve mental agility
- restore focus and motivation
- consolidate memory and learning
- boost creativity and productivity
Take regular breaks throughout the day to help you recharge and refocus.
Make sure to get away from your desk at lunchtime and don’t eat lunch at your desk.
8. Identify your distractions
Identifying what your distractions are will you will help you to reposition your relationship with them.
Turn off notifications, put your phone out of sight, work in a quiet area or use noise-cancelling headphones. Use your distractions as rewards.
9. Have your distractions nearby — but not in the way
Despite their bad reputations, distractions can be healthy and beneficial.
Distractions can give us a break from routines, restore focus and relieve stress.
Choose a distraction that you can do for only a few minutes such as a snack, playing an instrument or with a pet.
Our distractions can be used as rewards to restore energy, focus and motivation.
10. Use distraction-beating tools
There are a number of tools that can help you concentrate when you’re working in blocks of time. Freedom can turn off your internet or elements of it, while Forest app helps to create time away from your phone.
You may find starting the day earlier (when it is cooler) and finishing earlier helpful, so you can get outside to enjoy the summer evenings and those pina coladas! Rather than battle between work and distractions, with a bit of forward planning – we can work, rest and play.
Which is your favourite technique to help reduce distractions? Which one can you apply today?
How I can help
I can help you stay productive this summer with:
Learn how to manage your time and workload effectively, boost your productivity and achieve your goals.
This is also available as team training.
Create and achieve your next quarter’s business goals with an action plan to guide and grow your business.
This is also available as team training.
The perfect desk accessory helping you to focus, create a productive mindset and good working habits.