For as long as I remember I have always had to struggle to maintain focus and avoid distractions. I still do battle daily against the things that take my attention away from what I have set my mind and heart to achieve.
Believe it or not, but productivity increases inversely with distractions. If you have no ambition or big goals you want to accomplish, it is unlikely that you will derive any benefits from reducing distractions. So what is a distraction?
A distraction is that which divides your attention or prevents concentration.
When I set out to write my blog posts, my mind wanders and my attention is divided between what I am doing and the many other things I want to do. I constantly have to fight to get back on track and complete the task. This for me is energy draining and a cause of low productivity. So I set out to increase my productivity, get more done and achieve my goals by reducing distractions.
Here are 5 changes I made to my working life that has yielded big results.
- Create A Personal Work Space.
Your personal work space includes your desk, your chair, the walls around you, access to day light, room temperature and any other thing you can think of that makes for a pleasant environment. The more comfortable you are in your chair, the less you would fidget and the longer you will stay and complete your work.
Keeping a clutter free work environment will add to your productivity. Look around you. Do you like the look and feel of where you work? If not, come up with three things you can do to make yourself relaxed and comfortable.
- Turn Off Emails, Telephone and Text
I am one of those persons who checks his email as soon as it arrives. So I have lights that blink when I get an email, a buzzer that rings when I get a text and a phone that vibrates when on silent.
For years I couldn’t imagine life without a smart phone. However, after overcoming the withdrawal symptoms, I get more done in my day with the phone turned off.
If you have work to do that demands focus and attention, you may want to try having these things turned off.
- Take Some Time To Plan Your Day In Advance
If you start your day without a plan, you are more likely to end that day without achieving much. Take some time to plan your day in advance. The previous night is a good time to do this. Set goals and have targets for the day.
A list of what you want to do or achieve is a simple tool that can make you more productive. On completion of a task, you do not have to spend time wondering what to do next. You simply look at your list and tackle the next task.
- Use A Timer
When on social media, decide how much time you want to spend and then spend no more that the time you have allocated. A timer is a wonderful device which simply bleeps when your allocated time is up.
When writing, use your timer, when researching online, use a timer and when you go to sleep in the middle of the day, if you have that luxury, use your timer.
- Record, Review And Reward
Many years ago when I was struggling with money, I was given a sheet of paper to record and keep track of my spending. The result of that exercise was an eye opener. By tracking my spending I was able to review my actual spend against my planned spend. I had actual numbers that were always different from the plan. I didn’t need much prompting to make spending cuts.
What you track you can change. Keep track of how you spend your time. Record how many minutes in your day you spend doing actual productive work. Record how many minutes you spend watching television. Record how many minutes you spend on the telephone and on social media.
Review what you have recorded. Make necessary adjustments and reward yourself for good behaviour.
Why not add your own productivity tip by leaving a comment below.