Increasing Productivity – Reduce Distractions

Increasing productivity is not always an easy task but there are changes we can make in our everyday life to increase our productivity by leaps and bounds.

Distractions are the most common cause of counter productivity. Eliminating certain distractions can be… hold on, I need to check an email..

Okay I’m back. Now as I was saying eliminating distractions can…

oh excuse me I just got a text……

okay like I was saying, eliminating distractions can be one of the..

oh sorry, an I.M. just popped up…., now a tweet, now an RSS feed……..

Case in point, eliminating distractions can be the biggest, and sometimes even the easiest way, to start increasing productivity. Until it’s brought to our attention we may not even realize how many things cause distractions or when we’re actually being distracted.

Step 1 – Figure out what is distracting you.

Without realizing it you’re probably being distracted constantly. Email alerts, phones ringing, text messages, are all examples of obvious distractions. But what about the news section on the home page of your internet browser? I take at least 3-5 minutes reading headlines about the latest celebrity break up or dui almost every time I pull up the internet. There is a time and place for entertainment but it’s generally just a distraction. Next time you attempt to complete a task make a list of everything that interrupted you, no matter how big or how small. Then make changes. Something as simple as changing you internet home page can remarkably increase your productivity.

Step 2 – Don’t be shy

Make it known that you are avoiding distractions. Whether its kids or co-workers develop a system to make it known that you are busy. It can be as simple as closing your office door or writing “Do Not Disturb” on a dry erase board in your cubicle.

Step 3 – Do what’s most important first

If something has to be done you’re subconsciously less likely to allow disruptions to occur when you’re doing it. Then, hopefully, once you’ve established a disruption free environment to complete those important tasks the less important ones can be done in that same environment.

Step 4 – Multitask properly

When we focus on increasing productivity we generally begin to multitask to try and accomplish more. This is fine, but we must multi task properly. Don’t let one task’s interruptions cause you do be distracted from the other tasks. If you have to answer calls or assist customers don’t work on another project that requires a consistent train of thought at the same time. You’ll find yourself spending more time trying to pick up where you left off than you are actually doing what needed to be done.

Step 5 – Tune out/ Look busy

If you want to truly avoid distraction you must learn to tune out. Avoid common distractions like noises, kids, and coworkers by just ignoring them. When I’m at work I put my telephone headset on and completely ignore everyone attempting to get my attention. Chances are, if it’s important they’ll come back. If you make yourself look like you’re not busy people won’t have a problem bothering you. By just looking busy you are non-verbally telling people not to disrupt you.

Step 6 – Stay focused

You can be your biggest distraction. You ever-increasing need to check your facebook or tweet about what you ate for lunch will eat away at you until it’s done, so just do it first. If you know you’ll be wondering the whole time if that special someone sent you a text then check your messages between tasks. Don’t sit and worry about what you’re missing or it will distract you just as much as if you left your email up or your myspace open.

Increasing productivity can be very easy if you can recognize what is distracting in your life and you minimize it. Being productive doesn’t mean your always have to do everything all the time. Put your priorities first. Everything else is just a distraction. (write that down)

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14 Responses to “Increasing Productivity – Reduce Distractions”

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