It’s fairly early in the morning and I just heard the backhoe fire up in our yard. These last few days have been an exercise in overcoming distractions. Today I’ll share with you my strategies for overcoming distraction, procrastination and general time wasters.
Gratitude Tip: We would all love to increase our productivity, right? After doing my own time studies for two weeks, I noticed that I had more than enough time to be more productive, I was simply distracted or unfocused many times throughout the day. How does gratitude fit in with all of this? What if we could find a way to be grateful for our distractions and have that as a catalyst for being more efficient?
Top 5 Tips for Overcoming Distractions, Procrastination and General Time Wasters
1.Gratitude – How can we be grateful for our distractions? Try to find the gratitude in each situation, for example, you are distracted several times a day because people are stopping by your desk to ask questions or simply chat. Perhaps you can be grateful that people want to interact with you or that you are a resource for them. To overcome these distractions, know that you have to focus as much as possible when no one is around and just get things done in short bursts of effort.
2. Daily Tasks List – When we talked about setting goals for the year, I mentioned that it’s important to find out what are the daily tasks that will lead you to succeed in achieving your goal in 2016. When you are procrastinating, (which often comes from a place of fear or not knowing what to do next) refer to your daily task list and check in to see if you’ve done at least these 2-3 things today. It’s a great way to get back on track when you’re not being productive.
3. Kitchen Timer – Use a timer, either a physical one or the one on your phone to keep yourself from getting lost in the world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Pinterest – whatever your social media of choice is. Set a time for 10 -15 min when you open your apps and close it when the timer goes off. This is a strategy that I may have to start using again myself. I do a good amount of business on FB and what I find happens is that I will open FB to do a specific action, but get caught up in the newsfeed and 10 minutes later I cannot remember why I opened it in the first place! Huge time waster.
4. Acknowledgement – Stop and acknowledge that you are procrastinating or wasting time on social media. Stand up and change your state. Move around, put on some music and dance, take a washroom break, grab a cup of tea, anything that gets you out of your current state. Once you’re moving, you’ll be able to focus once you sit back down again.
5. Use secondary distractions – My husband is a computer programmer. In order for him to focus on the coding he is doing, he has to have something else in his ears. He will listen to music, ‘watch’ a movie or tv show, generally anything that provides a background to block out other distractions and allow him to focus on the task at hand. Programmers are most effective when they get into the Flow and are on a roll, without any distractions. Many of us are like this as well. When you need to block out distractions, try turning off your phone or putting it on silent while you’re making outgoing calls. This can be very helpful in reducing distractions and allowing you to get into the Flow.
What do you do to help avoid distractions? How do you focus or get back on task when you’re procrastinating? Share your ideas with us!