Increasing your productivity doesn’t take a magic wand or require you to get an advanced degree in statistics. If you are struggling with a lack of productivity, you need to take a closer look at your daily habits. Being unproductive is nobody’s fault but your own. Here are some of the top tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to learn how to get more done and minimize distractions.
Tip 1 – Learn to Anticipate Yourself
When it comes to productivity, we are our own worst enemy in learning how to get more done and minimize distractions. According to an article from Fast Company, where they studied office worker distractions, they learned how many of the distractions involve different kinds of technologies, and they ended up creating even more of a force for interruptions and different places where we can focus our attention.
“We had observers go into the workplace and we timed people’s activities to the second. We’ve been to various workplaces, all high-tech companies. We wanted to look at information workers. We had observers shadow each person for three and a half days each and timed every activity to the second. If they pick up a phone call, that’s the start time. When they put the phone down, that’s the stop time. When they turn to the Word application, we get the start time and stop time. We found people switched these activities on average of every three minutes and five seconds”.
Roughly half of them are self-interruptions. The good news is that internal disturbances are the only kind that you can control.
Learn to know your patterns and plan for these distractions.
Tip 2 – Send Out Busy Signals
Half of your distractions are external distractions that come in the form of email, people, phone calls, and chatter from other offices. If you want to stop these external distractions before they start you have to give out the right signals. If you utilize instant messenger, set yourself too busy and wear headphones, even if you aren’t listening to music. Providing subtle queues may seem passive aggressive, but they will also save you from annoying distractions. Avoiding upfront these types of distractions is the skill you will need to learn how to get more done and minimize distractions.
Tip 3 – Make Technology Work for You
At times, technology may seem like an enemy, but technology can be your anti-distraction buddy. Turn off your email alerts, create an auto-response to text messages, and set your phone to go to voicemail. Block out chunks of time on your calendar as “busy.” Unless you are dealing with life and death situations at work, your coworkers will be able to manage without you for a few hours.
I encourage you to use tools like Rescue Time.
Your dashboard in rescue time shows you how your day is shaping up. You can use it to get a quick understanding of your time, see which types of activities you are doing the most, and gauge how productive you have been. You can rank and categorize activities so you can decide what’s important to you.
Each week, they will send you a handy summary email so you can easily keep tabs on how your days are shaping up and spot any big changes that are happening. You will learn how to get more done and minimize distractions.
Tip 4 – Learn to Say No
If you are already overloaded with work and you feel like you never get anything accomplished, then you need to learn to say no to new requests and projects. You can nicely let people know that you would love to help, but your plate is currently full. This will become a discipline of yours if you want to get more done and minimize distractions.
If you are starting to have more and more unproductive days, it’s time for you to determine your distractions and put a stop to them. By being proactive, silencing technology, and learning to say no, you will find that you will start to become more productive.
How to get more done and minimize distractions starts with you. What will you do today to start minimizing distractions? What habits have you developed that are hindering you? Time today to evaluate and set your goals on what changes need to be done and which ones you can start on as soon as you finish reading this post.