Minimizing distractions takes discipline and handy tools and tips
A 2017 study by the staffing firm OfficeTeam revealed that the average deskbound (or laptop-bound) professional wastes an average of 56 minutes a day using her mobile devices for nonwork activities. That’s in addition to another 42 minutes a day spent on personal tasks.
Here are some tips for cutting down on distractions and interruptions to better focus.
Find the tools that work for you
Try a productivity app like Any.do or Gyst to keep your work and communications organized and streamlined.
Distractions still happen. So also try an app to help keep you on task like StayFocusd, a Chrome extension that limits the time you can spend on nonwork websites like Facebook.
Management experts have developed methods to help people stay focused. We like the decidedly low-tech Pomodoro method.
Set a timer for, say, 20 minutes. Start working. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Then, take a five-minute break. That is considered one “Pomodoro.” Repeat. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer (15- to 30-minute or lunch) break. The theory is that you can stay focused for short bursts, then feel recharged each time you return to work.
Same time, same place
Set a time of day for tackling tasks that you repeat daily. For example, when you arrive at your desk (or laptop) each morning, write your to-do and call list for the day. Set another time (or two) each day to send and respond to emails. Stick to this schedule.
Even if you do waste time, make sure to accomplish at least one critical task a day. You’ll feel better and your boss will too.