How to Fight Distractions and Boost Your Productivity
According to a recent study by the financial management service Think Money, only 12% of workers are getting 8+ productive hours of work per day. And, perhaps even more startling, less than half are putting in 6+ hours of productive work.
It’s not like people aren’t ‘at work’ for eight hours a day. So, what is causing this loss? It’s simple: distractions. The same study found that a third of workers are distracted for three hours a day! That is 60 hours a month, and 759 hours a year!
Those numbers are staggering. Imagine what you could accomplish with an extra 759 hours each year! So, how can we fight against distractions and win back our productivity? Here are seven ways to maximize your working hours each day:
Expecting yourself to master your distracting habits right out of the gate is a recipe for failure. Instead, see this as a process. First set achievable milestones and work toward those. Once you’ve mastered working for one hour without being distracted, start trying for two. When you’ve mastered two, go for three. Practice makes perfect. Set yourself some goals and get to work!
2. Block Out Time
Hoping for distraction free work to magically happen is a pipe-dream. You will need to be intentional about your time and managing distractions. Work interruption-free time into your daily schedule. Communicate with your team, boss, or employees beforehand so they know when you’ll be unavailable, then turn off your phone, close your email, and get to work.
3. Take Breaks
Focused, distraction-free work is taxing. If you’re used to taking 20 mini-breaks throughout your day, you will find spending several hours on uninterrupted work exhausting. To combat this fatigue, factor breaks into your daily schedule. You’ll find that taking one 15-minute break is more satisfying and more energizing that taking five three-minute breaks to check your Facebook feed.
4. Listen to Music
Music can be a helpful tool when it comes to avoiding distraction. Of course, not all music is equally helpful at work so find what helps you focus and stick with that. Listening to music will help you to block out the noisy distractions around you so that you can focus on the task at hand – being more productive. If you’re searching for the right music, Spotify has playlists dedicated to productivity, focus, and studying.
5. Turn Off Notification
The beeping and flashing lights from your phone are hard to ignore. We’ve conditioned ourselves to jump at every text message, new post, and email that comes across our devices. Maybe one day you will be able to ignore their draw, but turning off all your notifications is a great way to train yourself in productivity. Ignore your phone and get more done by turning off those nagging notifications for a time each day.
6. Do One Thing
Multitasking is a myth. It is time to stop trying to do several things at once. Each time we switch tasks we lose focus and invite distractions. Instead of splitting our focus between multiple tasks, the best way to fight distractions is to dedicate blocks of time to specific (or closely related) tasks.
Get Focused, Get Productive
According to Michael Hyatt, “Productivity is like any skill. The more your practice it, the better you get.” Don’t expect to be a productivity master your first day, but with persistence and dedication, you will get better each day. As with everything in life, the best way to get there is to set goals and relentlessly pursue them. Every day strive to reduce unnecessary distraction, fight to keep focus, and the results will amaze you.