How can you avoid distractions and accomplish your goals at work? The first step is to figure out what’s actually distracting you. There’s a pretty good chance that you’re wasting more time than you think. Use an app like RescueTime or ManicTime that can monitor what websites and applications you are spending your time on. Monitor yourself for a few days to a week to get a good idea of where your time is going and what’s really holding your attention while at work.
I know, I know, this is totally counterintuitive to everything that you’ve been accustomed to for the past decade. However, in order to truly get focused and avoid distractions, you’ll have to step away from your Twitter feed for just a little while. One of the best ways to avoid distractions while at work is to completely disconnect your computer from the Internet. Most of your top distractions are coming from the likes of new email alerts, instant messages, social media status updates, and random Google searches.
Be honest with yourself about whether or not you really have the willpower to look away, and if like most of us, you do not, simply disconnect. Select a specific timeframe when you will be working on an important task and during that time, remove your computer’s Internet connection by unplugging your Ethernet cable or disconnecting from your Wi-Fi network temporarily.
You can also experiment with apps that will not allow you to visit certain sites like social networks or go online at all while you’re working. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid distractions:
That Includes Your Phone Too
Just as many distractions, if not more are coming from your phone as your computer. The constant dinging of new texts, emails, missed calls and voicemails is enough to drive anyone batty. Power down your phone, put it in silent mode, do whatever you need to do to avoid distractions and designate specific break times for returning calls and texts that you missed.
Taking small and frequent breaks that allow you the time to decompress and have a little fun on Facebook or at the office water cooler will help you to avoid distractions throughout the day. Choose to spend your breaks doing something enjoyable like watching a funny video on YouTube or placing a quick phone call to a loved one. Once your break is over, you’ll be refreshed and recharged for taking on the next task on your list with laser-focused determination.
Alert the Media
Okay, you don’t really have to alert the media to the fact that you’re busy, they probably won’t care. However, you can alert your friends, family and co-workers by setting your IM status to “busy” or by setting up an email out-of-office reply that states that you are unavailable for a particular time period, letting them know when you plan to respond. Oftentimes, if you take the initiative to set up boundaries with people, you’ll find that they will usually respect them and it will be much easier to avoid distractions.
There comes a time when you just have to bribe yourself in order to get things done. Offer yourself a reward. Maybe after you finish a particularly difficult project, you get to take a long lunch, go for frozen yogurt after work or indulge in a gossip filled IM session with your BFF on Skype. Discover what motivates you and offer it up to yourself as a reward for accomplishing your goals, even the small ones. Remember, it’s the small things, done consistently, that add up over time creating big successes and avoiding distractions.
What’s distracting you from accomplishing your goals at work?