How to Free Yourself from Distractions that Steal Your Focus
Would you like to free yourself from distractions that come with today’s world? Today’s digital world means being bombarded every day by emails, texts, notices from your apps, updates from social media, news updates, etc. It can be exhausting trying to keep up with all of that data. It can be even harder to try and get anything DONE with all of that noise going on in the background.
There is hope though as we can also use our digital friends (phones/computer) to monitor these distractions. They can even serve as a sort of bodyguard for our peace of mind. When you consider the iPhone has only been out for the last 11 years, it is amazing how integrated it has become with our lives in a short period of time. So, let’s “turn back time” and take back our sanity while trying to get a job done.
8 Ways to Free Yourself from Distractions
1 – Free yourself from your smart phone notifications
Under your Settings icon you can decide which of your applications you would like to have notify you and in what way (banners, sounds, etc.). Please note that every time you install an app, you may want to go back and change the notifications. Usually the default is to notify you. Your phone becomes a lot quieter when you turn these off. Ahhhh, peace.
2 – Turn off any background noise like the TV or radio
There are plenty of people who can work and listen to these at the same time. But, you should at least it and see if you feel calmer and more productive without the background noise.
3 – Close the door
If you are in an office and have the luxury of a door, close it. Right there you can cut down on a lot of unnecessary chats (distraction), drop in meetings (distraction) and noise (distraction). If you don’t have a door, try wearing headphones even if you aren’t listening to anything, others may avoid bothering you. If you work at home, the same can apply to helping you get more done when the house is full.
4 – Schedule email
The granddaddy of all distractions. Turn off the notifications on your email. Set aside a time per day to go through your emails. Ideally, not at your most productive time of the day. Choose at least two times a day to check your emails and respond as needed. If you can go ahead and file or delete the emails, that is a good idea too.
For personal emails, an email provider like Google, now have folders for Social, Promotions and Updates that try to auto-filter your inbox for you. As long as you occasionally go through those folders and make sure there isn’t anything you need there, you should save some time. Also, there is a service called SaneBox that performs the same service basically – SaneLater and SaneArchive, and sends you a daily digest of the emails. You can use this service for Google, Yahoo, Office 365, etc.
5 – Reduce clutter
It is hard to focus on the job at hand, when you can’t FIND the job at hand. Having your desk space ordered in a way that makes sense to you so you can find what you need is important. Try to go through your mail once a day (over the trash can and recycle what you can) so it doesn’t pile up.
6 – Take a break
We all know when we have reached our max. If you are just going through the motions and not really being productive anymore, stand up and move. Take a mini-walk down the hall. Get a glass of water. Visit the restroom. Remember that your body is not a machine and it needs breaks every now and again to be able to focus.
7 – Manage your time
See the article on “How to Manage Your Time”, where it gives you various tools to help with your productivity. One tool, the pomodoro technique, has you focus for 25 minutes and then take a break. Knowing your time is batched and that you are slated for breaks can make a hard job seem easier.
8 – Know your priorities
Like heading on a road trip with no maps of how to get there, you don’t want to begin a task without knowing what your outcome should be. Why are you doing this task? How does it fit in with your overall goals? When you know why you are doing something and when it has to be done, this can make it less easy to be distracted. You will be focused on the end goal instead. For more help on goal setting, please see “How to Achieve Your Goals – Step by Step”.
Hopefully, these eight ways to free yourself from distractions will help you regain your focus. What is your favorite method of removing distractions while you are hard at work? Let me know in the comments below!
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