We all have varying amounts of tasks and responsibilities. Because of this workload, it’s in our best interest to take everything out of our life that doesn’t contribute to our goals, interests, and well-being—i.e., any distractions.
Although eliminating distractions is essential, it’s not always a simple task. Here are some helpful methods to remove the distractions that steal your attention the most.
Distractions to Physically Remove
Many of our captivating distractions are ones that can physically be removed from our surroundings, either temporarily or permanently. Here’s a list of common material or electronic distractions that you can eliminate from your vicinity.
- Cell phone
- Visual distractions
You may not be able to remove your cell phone from your area because it’s necessary for communication, but you can limit the distractions that come from it. Most smartphones will now allow you to silence notifications to specific apps, and even messages from specific people. Emails can be avoided during times of productivity simply by not opening your mail app.
If your workspace is cluttered, which seems to be pulling your attention away from work … clean the mess! Don’t allow it to take over your desk and your focus. Television and other visual distractions can be minimized by moving your productivity to a different location with fewer stimuli.
Although some distractions can simply be put away or stepped away from, others require a more hands off approach. Instead of being able to put the phone away, turn off the TV, or pick up the mess around you, the removal of other distractions will take planning and some finesse.
Setting Boundaries to Keep Distractions Out
If people are your biggest distraction, then establish boundaries with them. It’s okay to let people know that you’ll be busy or focused during a certain period of time. Tell them that you’ll be fully available after that time and stick to that window.
The more consistent you are with it, the more established that boundary becomes. One of the best ways to do this is to share a digital calendar with the people that contact you most frequently. If you’ve never used a collaborative calendar, take your pick!
On the opposing end, consider setting an hour of your day aside for letting in all distractions. It may seem overwhelming and chaotic, but after that hour is over, you’re free to settle into silence and get back to work. Make your phone calls, send your messages, do whatever you have to do to get business rolling.
Remember, it’s okay to say “no” to something or someone that doesn’t fall under your list of top priorities. You don’t have to be blunt about your preoccupation but make it clear that you can’t offer up your attention just yet (although you might be able to later.)
Minimizing Distracting Thoughts
Often times our distractions don’t come from an outside influence. You may not have people trying to get ahold of you or receive e-mails every five minutes. However, some time-consuming distractions come from within.
A great way to eliminate thoughts that distract you from being efficient is to keep yourself challenged—not busy. This article states that sometimes we’re easily distracted because our work isn’t challenging enough. If you seem to have a lot of busy work, try taking on tasks that test your abilities.
We also highly recommend setting more deadlines for tasks. When you have multiple deadlines for important jobs, you tend to only think about those tasks until you’ve completed them. Set specific deadlines with detailed instructions focused on what is to be completed and at what time.
Another helpful way to manage distractions is to make a plan. Don’t just start the day with what you need to accomplish in mind—put it down on paper (or computer). Make sure that you dedicate a necessary amount of time to each of your important tasks for the day. Then, with your remaining time, jump into the less crucial matters.
Now that you’re not storing all those tasks in your head, you have mental room to breathe and consider how you’ll tackle the tasks individually. If you can plan out the whole day from breakfast to dinner, especially a day in advance, you can eliminate even more of the distracting thoughts.
Start a Productive Day!
If you want to embrace productivity and have a day full of it, then you have to start it that way. Avoid a distractive mindset by starting the day with productive actions instead of mindless and scattered actions—like scrolling through social media and news platforms. Check out our blog about making the first ten minutes of your day count!