This is a guest post! Be kind and play nice. Cheers. - Hri.
Whenever you’re in the midst of beginning a new project or taking on something that doesn’t quite absorb all of your attention, you may find yourself wasting time with other distractions. It’s one of the problems entrepreneurs struggle with and it can potentially be your own worst enemy. The phrase “time is money” has never rung so true when it comes to distractions stealing your attention.
Avoiding Distractions is something that everyone has to be aware of. It requires skill and discipline to conquer. The good news is that you can practice these skills and slowly get better and better at them. We can’t all be 100% productive all the time, everyone has their days where they feel like they can’t produce but using the methods outlined below, you can go a ways to making sure you’re maximizing your productivity and time by limiting your daily distractions.
It goes without saying that one of the most important aspects of where you complete your work will influence your distraction level. Imagine trying to do your work on a football pitch, with thousands of people screaming and talking all the time – anyone would have difficulty concentrating.
A more serious analogy is that if you work from home, it’s important to setup a place where you’re not going to be interrupted by family members or friends. You need to set boundaries and working hours and stick to them. Allowing anyone to wander in and out of your room or strike up a conversation with you is going to eat into your work time. You’ll also allow your mind to get used to it – “It’s a nice break from work” or “Wow, I haven’t spoken to anyone for 30 minutes – I need a break”.
I recommend giving yourself 5 minutes every hour for a small break/breather. Go for a wander around your house, make a coffee or scroll through your phone. But then know that the next 55 minutes needs to be work. Personally, I found it much better to not use my phone or anything like that because these distractions can consume much more than 5 minutes of time, especially if you’re using a site like Reddit.
You also want your working environment to be comfortable. Make it a place where you want to do work. You can do all sorts of things like buying blankets for the winter, creating mood lighting to make the room less stressful and having a quality chair to make working comfortable for long periods of time.
Distraction Free Software
If you do struggle with stopping yourself from opening up your browser and checking the latest posts on Reddit or some other website or digital distraction, you can help yourself by installing distraction-free software.
This type of software works by locking you out of certain websites for a period of time. If you know you’re going to be working for the next 3 hours, you can block all access to websites like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook etc. to prevent you from getting distracted. The problem, of course, is that you can still disable this software, so in the end, it really does all come down to willpower.
One of the best distraction free software I use is a Google Chrome plugin called SoFocused. It allows you to use the Chrome browser to use normal websites that you might need for your work, but blocks specific ones you know you shouldn’t be visiting in work hours. It’s free to use and simple to setup.
Of course, if you don’t need the internet, you can try pulling the internet plug out so that you can’t visit any websites. This is great if you’re a writer or some other job that doesn’t require internet access. It does take time to get used to not having the ability to spring open tabs to distracting websites, but you’ll soon mentally coach yourself not to do it.
One of the biggest ways I saved time and prevented getting distracted was by planning my days, to the hour. Planning means you make sure you always have some piece of work to be getting on with. If you’ve ever had that familiar feeling of finishing a task and then being unsure on what to do next, wasting time before finally figuring it out, well then you’ll know that planning is a big important factor in not wasting this.
Planning doesn’t have to be time specific. It can just be a simple list of tasks that need completing. You just need to make sure you don’t give yourself the opportunity to start drifting and wondering.
Plans do change all the time. Sometimes you’ll come across a piece of work that requires you to be flexible in the tasks you solve, so just be aware of this. It can become a bit tiresome to keep adjusting what you need to be working on, causing frustration. But I still think planning is much better than working linearly without knowing what the next item on the list is.
I hope this article has been useful to you! Working without distractions is something that can really boost your work productivity and these are skills which you can apply to all sorts of scenarios in life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an author trying to write their first book, being able to work without distractions is a key skill everyone should be invested in.
About the Author
Pat writes for TheBlanketNook, which is a site dedicated to all things blankets! If you’re in the mood to look at something snuggly and warm, check us out!
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