In this technology crowded world where we spend countless hours on Facebook and our smart phones scrolling through Instagram feeds, Timehop, Facebook Messenger even down to checking the weather or news app on a regular basis purely out of habit and for no other reason, it’s no wonder we find ourselves getting distracted in the work place. We are all guilty of it, especially when we are tired or have a big boring task on our to do list that we simply want to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of closing your eyes and it’ll go away – well the screen will – we have to stand up and take action.
It’s hard to imagine going back to a time five years ago, or better yet, fifteen years ago, when the world wasn’t at our fingertips at the touch of an app and the constant drive to stay connected to everyone at all hours of the day. But the influx of information comes at a price, and for many, productivity is what suffers. To avoid falling victim to these bad habits, use these simple tricks to keep you on the straight and narrow. Yes, the first few months will be hard and you will find yourself biting your nails out of anticipation and angst, but trust us when we say – it will be ok.
1. Schedule breaks
When it comes to focusing on one task for a long period of time without breaks, it comes as no surprise that productivity starts to decline rapidly. Recent studies have shown that by taking regular breaks during work helps you to refocus your energy and come back to the task fresh and raring to go. The key is to plan your breaks so that they also act as a reward for your efforts along with giving your mind the chance to focus on something else. It has been recommended to work for 55 minutes straight followed by a short 5-minute break. Within this time, you can check emails, respond to missed calls and even check your Facebook notification that is calling your name. Be sure to turn off all notifications on your phone so that you don’t get distracted when your phone lights up. Just like a moth, we are all drawn to the light of our phone screens.
2. Call upon the productivity police
For those of you who need help and a little hand holding along the way, there are a number of time-management websites out there that will support you on your journey to productivity. RescueTime can be used on your computer and smart phone devices to provide a detailed report of the time you spend on various websites and apps, reading e-mails or attending meetings. This will show you just how long tasks are taking and where you could be saving time throughout your work schedule. It can also be used to block distracting websites that you find yourself scrolling through. If you already know the source of your distractions such as Facebook and are simply looking to block the offending sites, there are a number of options including Anti-Social, Cold Turkey, SelfControl and StayFocusd. Each one can be set to restrict access to multiple sites for a predetermined amount of time in order to keep distractions to a minimum and keep your eyes on the game.
3. Create folders & lists
If your job requires you to use social media, try to utilize Twitter lists in order to separate work from play. If you are using your smart phone to conduct the task, try creating different folders on your phone so that you don’t find yourself accidently tapping on Timehop and sharing it on Facebook so that your friends will comment, causing you to get distracted once again with their responses. You can even create bookmarks on your internet browser so that you stay logged in to work related social media platforms and have a separate folder for the sites that you like to browse.
Even the best and most goal driven focussed person on the planet gets distracted from time to time. It’s making yourself aware that you are doing it, will help you to nip it in the bud. Simply changing your work habits in one week will show significant results in the amount of tasks achieved and the items checked off your now smaller to do list. Let us know how you get on – we hope you will be reading our next blog in your allocated 5-minute break!