8 Tips to Eliminate Distractions and Increase Productivity
If we take the time to go through all the things that make us less productive, distractions and procrastination will most likely dominate the list. Staying focused on a job is truly not an easy stroll in the park, especially working in an industry that is dominated by deadlines and creativity.
Distractions often end up being the things we do as either diversion or recreation, mostly for our entertainment, sometimes also caused by extreme procrastination.
There are two types of distractions:
- Internal distractions – distractions from our internal drives, such as inner frustrations, obsessive thoughts, conflicts, and the like.
- External distractions – distractions outside of ourselves, such as noise, temperature, sensory overload, etc.
For either type of distraction, the key to dealing with it isn’t to prevent the distractions from happening, but to change how we think, respond, and handle these “derailments”. In this case, there could be some distractions that are more welcomed, some unwelcomed, both being controllable and uncontrollable.
To avoid falling victim to things that stop us from being productive, here are eight ways to help with spending just the right amount of time at work and getting things done without distractions and delays.
Accurately track time
If you notice that you’re taking too much time on a task than the average estimate, it helps to track the time. Tracking and limiting the time spent on tasks shouldn’t mean cutting the needed amount of time to get things done, it just means learning to allot time better and spending just the right amount of it per task. According to previous research, even while most people think they’re great at determining the time they need to do various tasks, only about 17% of people have been able to pinpoint where their time went and estimate the needed time accurately. For example, there’s no way that taking an hour to write a draft email to the client can be accurate. Know where that hour went and boost productivity with the help of time management tools and software like Toggl, Asana, Trello, Hubstaff, and RescueTime.
Take scheduled breaks
Taking scheduled breaks can help improve concentration no matter how counterintuitive it sounds. You can also follow the two-minute rule: all tasks that can be done in two minutes or less should be done immediately. Other people may also enjoy taking exercise breaks to get a hold of their focus and to get the blood pumping in the muscles as well as the brain. Exercising helps not only with maintaining physical health but also with mental health.
Conduct better meetings
As much as possible, setting and achieving objectives can be made quicker and more efficient through phone calls and emails. But if you find that there’s a real need to book meetings, you can do it web-based via conference calls through Skype or another similar software or app. If inevitable, standing meetings help in making the conference or meeting more active and engaging and preventing the group from getting too comfortable in their seats.
Take advantage of idle time
Various idle times throughout your day, such as sitting in the train during your commute, can be used smartly by going through emails, creating a to-do list, or reflecting on how to improve work or be more productive during the day.
Have a plan of attack per day and stick with it. Go through a to-do list and accomplish tasks. Make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen. Along with having a to-do list, it may also be good to give yourself a self-imposed deadline for open-ended tasks to ensure these are completed within a specific timeframe. Putting pressure on yourself, but only on manageable healthy levels, can help quicken processes at work.
Accomplish tasks in workable intervals
According to previous research by Florida State University, humans more or less perform at their best within a 90-minute window. Elite performers, such as musicians, artists, and athletes, who work in a 90-minute period end up being more productive when compared to those who work continuously. Although not ideal for a work setting, the study also found that those who work no more than 4.5 hours a day are some of the most productive, top-performing subjects, compared to others of the lot.
Ignore irrelevant notifications
People have developed a fatal habit of looking at their phones and immediately checking when they receive notifications from the many apps installed on their devices. Emails, text messages, voicemail, social media applications will all notify you of even the smallest of events. To help book productivity and to stop yourself from stopping and checking, turn off all notifications for once. This will help you to stop thinking about things other than work and the task at hand.
Consciously minimize distractions and interruptions
Knowing how to control and minimize interruptions can change how you work through the day. Being aware of your distractions and minimizing them to the best of your ability can be a great way to learn how to control yourself better. Look at it this way – even the shortest interruption still stops you from continuously working and in turn stops your thought process. We don’t realize it, but increasing productivity at work can easily be accomplished by working smarter, not just harder.