Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz.
You better check that that, it could be important. It’s okay; I’ll wait.
So where were we then?
I was about to say that it’s easy to lose focus on important work with the world demanding our attention. However, all is not lost! Even in a world with constant distraction, there are steps you can take to get back your focus and sharpen up your mind.
Email notifications, Slack pings, and constant digital chatter is making us multi-taskers less effective according to Stanford research. If you turn off or tune out most of the distraction and focus on one task at a time, you’ll no doubt be more productive with the work at hand. Make doing one thing at a time a habit, and let it seep into the rest of your life.
Refrain from repeatedly checking your email. It can bring you out to of that creative flow (I referred to yesterday). Set a time for email checking, perhaps during a mid-morning slump or at the end of your day. You could be working intently on a project, get a notification and respond to an email, and then spend 10 minutes trying to find the place in your work and get yourself back up to speed. It’s best to choose a time to check email when you’re not already performing at your best. This leads me to my next point.
A little self-examination would do us all a bit of good, wouldn’t it? Go ahead and ask yourself two questions. When are you most productive? When are you most distracted? Use this information to sort out your day. If you’re most productive in the morning, then use that time to get your most pressing/important work done. Use the time when you’re most distracted, in that after lunch coma perhaps, to do mundane tasks. Combine with #2.
Journal away distraction
Blank paper, endless possibilities. Author and venture-capitalist Tim Ferriss, often discusses his habits, productivity and otherwise, on his well-regarded podcast. He points out that the practice of journaling is also a great way to ‘cage the monkey mind’ and get those persistent nagging thoughts out of your mind and onto paper, where they’re locked down and do no more harm. It’s important to recognize that distraction also creeps up from within. Journaling is also one of the best ways to get your head together about important projects and make sure your time is used effectively.
Do yourself a favor and adopt at least one of these suggestions to help avoid those typical productivity pitfalls. You can do it right now.
Again, I’ll wait.