Whether you're working remotely, working at the office, or working at all, you can still fall prey to distractions. They come in a myriad of disguises and take many shapes and forms. From instant messages, text messages, checking social media and email, to snacking or napping, or just feeling like you have no idea where to start, distractions can crush your motivation and productivity if you let them.
Please check out our e-course Supercharge Your Motivation for the inside track to dealing with distractions and motivation roadblocks. This self-directed course offers a lifetime subscription that you can access anywhere and anytime.
Our list of 10 Distraction Busters provides you with tips and techniques to overcome any type of unwelcome distraction. Read on and equip yourself to tackle your next task with confidence.
1. Visualize yourself working
Before you begin your work, decide how you want to approach your day and visualize yourself getting work done and how it will feel when you accomplish what you set out to do that day. Focus on the emotion you'll feel, the sense of confidence that moving forward on a project or goal will bring you.
2. Hold an intention for your day
What type of energy do you want to bring to your work? Create a short phrase or sentence with a mantra or positive message such as:
"I have the time, the skill and the energy to complete this task today"
"I will find a way to get this task done today!"
3. Listen to a mindfulness or grounding exercise
Try our 2-minute guided meditation grounding exercise to help you focus and concentrate.
4. Make and maintain only 1 to-do list/task list:
Keep only 1 to-do list with both your personal and professional tasks. Keep it in a place, either electronically or in a paper format, that you can easily access. There are dozens of free apps for task management including nTask, Evernote, Eisenhower & Microsoft To Do. Try out a few to determine the one that works best for you.
5. Keep what is most important top of mind.
Consider your to-do list and prioritize it based on the Eisenhower or Time Management Matrix method of the following 4 quadrants:
- Do first: tasks that are both urgent and important (deadline-driven projects)
- Schedule: tasks that not-so-urgent but important (planning, dreams, relationship-building)
- Delegate: tasks that are less important, but urgent (someone else's crisis)
- Don't do: tasks that are neither important or urgent (time wasters)
Don't pick the lowest hanging fruit or easiest tasks to complete first. Pick the most urgent to ensure you’ve given yourself every opportunity to get it done and avoid the possibility of surprises that may surface in your day and derail you from tackling your most important task.
6. Turn stuff off.
Before you put down your smartphone to focus, place it on “airplane mode” and limit text messages by using the “do not disturb” feature. Doing so will help you avoid the immediate reaction of checking the message every time you hear the beep, ding, or ping sound.
7. Close your internet browser.
8. Block off time in your calendar.
Batch the time you allocate doing research, responding to emails, and answering calls. Doing so will save you significant time. When you respond in the moment, you lose your focus and your momentum. It takes you approximately 20 minutes to concentrate again on the task at hand and represents about a 40 percent productivity loss!
9. Use a time-tracking tool or a time-blocking worksheet.
Download our time-blocking worksheet here. Time tracking or time-blocking allows you to capture how and where you're spending your time so you can reflect on what's working and where you might have over or underestimated the time it would take you to complete a task.
10. Work in short time blocks.
Try working for 25 minutes and allow yourself a 5-minute break. This method of working in short time blocks is known as The Pomodoro Technique. Working in these short time blocks allows your brain to know when you're going to stop as well as maximize your creativity which happens within the first 10 minutes. The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo.
Have clear goals
It all starts with having clear goals that you feel will improve the quality of your life and that you can connect to at an intrinsic or internal level. Once you're clear on the "why" behind your goal, you'll be able to apply these distraction busters with more determination because your goal and that task associated with it has a deeper value.
Remember to be gentle with yourself. You're bound to make mistakes and get distracted from time to time. It is human nature to trip up, but it is also part of our make-up to get back up again, learn from our slip-ups and try again tomorrow.
You've got this now, Now go own your day.
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