Time sucks, productivity killers, distractions. No matter what you call them, there are many and they keep us from getting stuff done. Here are some common ones and how to try to combat them.
1. Social Media
This is my biggest downfall. I have notifications in the form of sound and visuals that pop up when I get a new interaction on social media. So what do you do? Naturally you click on it because Kelly’s story about this gal at the grocery store is much more interesting than trying to come up with another blog about web design.
How to deal with it? Shut off the notifications and do not leave any social media sites open in your web tabs. That way you aren’t tempted to look at the cute kitty picture that Jessica sent you and can focus on your work.
2. Your Phone
Congrats, you have your notifications shut off on your computer but now they are popping up on your phone, which is RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR COMPUTER. So while you aren’t getting social media interruptions, you are getting a text from your sister about this guy that cut her off in traffic earlier.
How to combat it? I know you’re going to say, “I need to be near my phone in case I get an important phone call.” That’s fine. Shut off the notifications or just mute them and turn your phone upside down. Not being able to easily access your notifications will cut down on how often you will check it. Pro tip- Leave it in another room if you work from home. You can still hear it ring if you are expecting a call but you can’t easily look at it.
3. Kids, Significant Others, Co-workers
What’s funny is as I was writing this, Scott walked in from work and wanted to talk about his day, so I had to put it aside. Whether you work from home or work in an office, you are bound to get a few interruptions.
How to combat it? Well, if you work from home and know the kids will be home at a certain time, try to schedule the tasks that will require most of your attention and focus during the time they are not around. At work? Try wearing headphones, even if you aren’t listening to music, people are less likely to just stop and chat if you look like you are deep into work. If you work from home during the summer and your kids are a little older? I schedule a block of time each day where we are all responsible for working on things we need to get done.
I’m looking at you Netflix! Sometimes when I work from home, I put a show on Netflix that I’ve seen before under the guise that I won’t be distracted because I’ve already seen it. What really ends up happening is that I have to look up because I love this particular scene in Glee with Blaine and Kurt.
How to combat it? Put some music on instead if you need the background noise or put the TV on in a different room so you can still hear it but can’t see it. Or leave it off all together if you have that kind of willpower.
Much like text messages, emails can pop up on your screen while you are working and draw your attention.
How to Combat it? Set up a schedule for when you will check your email everyday. Often people that email you don’t expect an immediate response or they would call or text you. As long as you get back to them within 24 hours, you should be fine. Most of my emails are junk mail anyway. If you have lots of client emails that you need to respond to, check once an hour or once a half hour and turn off the notifications in between.
Not that I’ve been known to do 2 loads of laundry before I sit down to do some work or anything…. Or when I worked in an office, I went to the bathroom, got some coffee and maybe stopped by a coworkers desk before tackling a task. Not me- Totally me!
How to combat this? Set small goals for yourself and then reward yourself with something small afterwards. “If I get 3 blog posts written, then I can have a cup of coffee and a Milano cookie.” Not saying you have to use my example, but Milanos are delicious. You may be the hummus and carrots type. Whatever works for you.
As you see in the picture above, my cute furry friend Oliver often interrupts my work. I also have a dog that needs to go out and then come back in and then go out…. you get the point. Oliver also jumps onto my computer and demands that I pet him. If I don’t, he climbs up my chest and sits there and licks my face until I comply. I usually comply.
How to combat this? Sometimes if I really need to concentrate, I’ll put my dog in her crate for an hour. That keeps her from the constant in and out. As for the cat? I have no defense against his cuteness. He is the overlord of my house.
I’m sure there are a lot of other things that take us away from being productive too. If you think of any more and have a solution, comment below.