We all start the day with the best of intentions.
We’re committed to staying focused and on task, and to getting as much work done as possible.
Unfortunately, social media, smartphones, people and even pets conspire against us, making us less productive than we could be.
The solution to getting more done is simple (in theory): Remove distractions to increase productivity.The solution is simple (in theory): Remove distractions to increase productivity.Click To Tweet
However, practically speaking, this isn’t always so easy.
It requires planning and determination, and the willingness to make some simple changes to how, when and where you work.
Following are 10 of these simple changes!
1. Turn Off Notifications on Your Phone
Who can resist the “ping” of a smartphone notification? I know I can’t!
Make sure to turn off social media and email notifications to reduce temptation.Make sure to turn off social media and email notifications to reduce temptation.Click To Tweet
You might also consider putting your phone on silent when you work, and returning phone calls at set times…rather than having to break your concentration every time the phone rings.
2. Block Unnecessary Apps
While it’s nice to think you can resist the allure of YouTube, Facebook, or email while using your computer, most of us don’t have this level of willpower! If you’re serious about avoiding distractions, consider an app like Cold Turkey. Block apps, websites, browsers…even your entire computer if you like!
3. Have Set Times for Checking Email and Social Media
If you’re not quite ready to go “cold turkey”, at least have set times when you’ll let yourself check email and social media. Obsessively checking throughout the day will seriously hinder your ability to focus, meaning you end up working more while getting far less done!
4. Plan Your Tasks for the Day
Have a plan in place for what you hope to get done for the day. If you’re really determined to increase your productivity, you can even decide on certain times when specific tasks should be done. Use an app like Todoist to plan out your day and track your progress!
5. Tidy Up
A messy desk or workspace can be a major distraction. It can make it harder to find what you need, and can serve as a visual – and even emotional – distraction (“This mess is driving me crazy!”).
At the end of the day, dedicate a few minutes to tidying up so you can start the next day with a clean slate!At the end of the day, dedicate a few minutes to tidying up so you can start the next day with a clean slate!Click To Tweet
6. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
A business owner’s best friend! Invest in a good set of noise-cancelling headphones that you can use to drown out the sounds of kids, pets or coffee shop chatter. They may not be cheap, but I guarantee they’ll pay for themselves via increased productivity!
7. Work Outside Your Home
If you work from home, you know how hard it can be to avoid distractions in this work environment. Kids, laundry, dishes, phone calls…each are competing for your time and attention.
Consider working outside your home a few times a week – in a coffee shop or shared workspace – and see if this reduces your distractions and boosts your productivity!Consider working outside your home a few times a week – in a coffee shop or shared workspace – and see if this reduces your distractions and boosts your productivity!Click To Tweet
8. Track Your Time
You might be surprised at how much – or how little – time you actually spend on certain tasks. Using a time-tracking app like Toggl lays it all out for you in black and white, meaning you’ll know exactly how much time you’re wasting!
9. Stop All the Multitasking
As small business owners, we’re used to “doing it all”, all the time. And while this is an admirable ability in some ways, it can also seriously hinder your ability to really focus on one task. Rather than trying to get three tasks done at once, your time is probably better spent giving 100% focus to just one task – and once you’re done, you can then give 100% to the next task.Rather than trying to get three tasks done at once, your time is probably better spent giving 100% focus to just one task – and once you’re done, you can then give 100% to the next task.Click To Tweet
10. Reward Yourself
Staying focused is hard work, so don’t forget to reward yourself! Make sure to build in times during the day when you get some “me” time. This might mean going for a quick walk, having a cup of coffee, or calling up a friend just to chat. Whatever helps you relax and recharge!
It’s unrealistic to think that you can avoid all distractions. Life and business are unpredictable, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
However, if you can plan ahead, you can remove many common distractions, thereby improving your focus and increasing your productivity.