Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You have a list of goals in front of you. Accomplishing these goals is important to you. However, for some odd reason, those goals don’t get accomplished. Either some of the goals or none of them get accomplished.
What happened? Maybe you tried to bite more than you could chew. But deep down, you know that’s not what happened.
It’s very clear what happened. Most people get distracted, and enough distractions will result in a checklist without the checkmarks.
Once we get distracted for the slightest amount of time, it takes us some time to get back on track. Shifting from a distraction back to your work isn’t just a physical shift. It is also a mental shift.
You have to mentally re-prepare yourself for getting your goals done each time you get distracted.
Getting distracted too many times will result in a lot of lost time based on how long it takes for you to get back to the work from a physical standpoint (i.e. looking at the blog post you are writing) and from a mental standpoint (having the mindset necessary for writing an epic blog post).
Distractions can get bothersome. The worst part is that few people realize the impact of distractions until it’s too late. One distraction doesn’t seem to take much time out of the day.
But a string of distractions stretched over a long period of time can be disastrous for your productivity.
The next thing you know, it’s the end of the day, and you are far behind from accomplishing your goals for the day.
The moment you take steps to eliminate some of the distractions from your life is the moment you will become more productive.
Of course, it’s impossible to eliminate all distractions. We can’t work 24/7, every day of the year. However, it is possible for you to use your time as productively as possible to accomplish your goals and have a lot of extra time for the good ol’ work-life balance.
You use your time more productively by eliminating the distractions around you that can be eliminated. In this blog post, you’ll learn the five distractions that can be dramatically reduced so you can become more productive.
#1: Surfing The Web
The web has granted us many gifts. The web gave us social media, the ability to expand business in a way like never before, hilarious memes, and a whole lot more.
I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t on the web for an entire day. It just has so much to offer. The problem with so many options is that it is easy to get distracted.
Going on Twitter to interact with your audience can suddenly end with you scrolling through the trending topics. You went on YouTube to upload a video, and you log out of your account after watching 10 Jimmy Fallon videos.
The web provides us with so many opportunities, but almost all of those opportunities are also next to a sea of distractions.
Developing willpower is one possible tip, but it doesn’t dive deep enough into this distraction. Here’s the secret to avoiding this distraction.
When you work, you must disconnect from the Wi-Fi.
When I write my blog posts, I make it a point to disconnect from the Wi-Fi, remove my iPhone from the room, and quit my Safari and Mail icons. That way, the only thing I am thinking about is writing the blog post. More specifically, it’s the only work I am doing.
With that said, there is some work that requires Wi-Fi. Content research, watching training course videos, and scheduling blog posts are just some of the tasks that require Wi-Fi.
Some of those tasks can be outsourced to freelancers. Outsourcing some of your workload will allow you to save time that can be repurposed towards bigger opportunities.
However, some of the work just can’t be outsourced. For that type of work, my recommendation is to write down your daily goals on a sticky note. I always keep a sticky note like this right next to my computer.
Any moment you find yourself getting distracted, look at that sticky note. It will remind you that there’s still work to do. Then you won’t find yourself getting distracted for as long.
#2: Social Media
Social media is a special type of web surfing since it’s critical for a lot of businesses. However, social media is a double-edged sword. While it is critical for business, it can also eat up too much of your time.
Writing the sticky note will help you when you fall off track. However, why fall off track in the first place?
When I interact with my social media audiences, I rarely interact with them on the actual social networks. Instead of interacting with people through Twitter, I usually interact with my Twitter audience from HootSuite.
The HootSuite dashboard comes with all of the tweeting capabilities. The HootSuite dashboard doesn’t contain as much information as Twitter’s dashboard.
That’s actually a good thing.
On the HootSuite dashboard, I don’t see any tweets that could distract me. More importantly (for me), I don’t see any of the trending topics.
So instead of going through the trending topics after I interact with my audience, I move onto the next task.
You need to find a way to spend as little time as possible on the actual social network. Use a social media tool instead.
Remember this. All social networks are designed to keep you on their sites for as long as possible. Social media tools are simply designed for you to get the work done.
The average American watches 32 hours of television every week. Imagine all of the cool things you could do with that extra time.
I used to be on that same boat. Every day when I got home from school, I would do my homework. Then, the rest of the day was filled with a combination of TV, internet surfing, and video games.
Productivity wasn’t a natural talent of mine. Natural talents don’t exist. Every “natural talent” is simply a skill that got developed over a long period of time.
But when I started blogging, I fell in love with it. Blogging became my hobby, and when I figured out I could make money from it, blogging became my business. Then it expanded from there.
When I first started blogging, I had to find extra time for myself to write the blog posts. Little did I know it at the time, but this is when I discovered how valuable time is, from a minute by minute standpoint.
A minute you spend doing one activity is a minute that you can’t spend doing any other activity. If I watch TV for one minute, then that is one minute in which my upcoming blog post remains unwritten.
I think of spending time in the same way that I think of spending money. Spend both of them carelessly, and the results won’t be pretty. Spend them effectively and you get the results.
The moment I valued my time to this level, I stopped falling for the traps. I stopped watching the re-runs because I was bored. Now with a blog and a business, I always had something to do. And I enjoyed the work. That’s the important part—a strong source of motivation to get off the couch.
Now I only watch two hours of TV every week. Any new episode of The Big Bang Theory or Super Girl is a can’t miss. I actually schedule podcast interviews accordingly to make sure I don’t miss any of those episodes.
I don’t watch much TV which is why it’s a big deal when I actually watch some of it.
Then there’s 30 minutes of miscellaneous. Sometimes I’ll watch a sports game, but since my Red Sox aren’t on the New York channels, I mostly stay up-to-date via MLB’s website.
But maybe you still want to watch a lot of TV the moment you turn it on. If this is you, then you must enlist the help of a trustworthy family member that you won’t get mad at.
Have that member of the family member hide the TV remote, or better yet, put the TV remote in a location where you cannot access it.
Without a TV remote, there’s no point in turning on the TV. What happens then? The goals get done.
Music and I will never go out of style. While some songs can put you in the right mindset for pursuing certain types of work (i.e. Rocky music for workouts), listening to too much music will distract you when you are working.
Take, for instance, a Taylor Swift song. The moment I hear one of her songs play, I stop what I am doing to listen to it. Sometimes I sing to the song, but often I just stop what I am doing and listen.
Soon enough, I have listened to dozens of songs to find my blog post still unwritten.
I feel great when I listen to my favorite songs, but listening to too many songs results in no work getting done.
Luckily, there is an in-between route otherwise known as the Pomodoro technique. It is a famous productivity tactic that involves you working on ONE thing for 25 minutes and then taking a five minute break. This gets repeated again and again. However, on the fourth Pomodoro, some people recommend taking a 15 minute break instead of a five minute break.
During that five minute break, you can choose to listen to one of your favorite songs. However, only choose one song. We all have that one song that after listening to it, we can produce meaningful work for 25 straight, undistracted minutes.
Don’t go on a music marathon, but also don’t deny yourself of your favorite song.
#5: Your Thoughts
I’m starting off this part by saying we always think. You can’t fully eliminate thoughts from your life.
However, there are certain thoughts in your head that will distract you. The chances of that happening are greatly reduced if you do work that you love doing.
When you love the work that you do, then you are less likely to wander within your mind—thinking about the baseball game you are going to this week or the last concert you attended.
To be truly locked into your work is to be within the moment. Sometimes, our thoughts take us away from that. Bad thoughts sometimes enter our minds, and the negative feelings harm our productivity.
When bad thoughts emerge, you need a quick counter. I think one of the greatest things people deprive themselves of is self-worth. We often look at the target without looking back at the starting point.
We are so focused on what we have to do that we fail to notice what we have already accomplished.
Anytime a bad thought comes up, simply remind yourself of some of the things you have accomplished up to this point. Then you won’t feel as bad, and you’ll be able to continue working without those negative thoughts plaguing your work ethic.
Distractions are among us. They hurt our ability to accomplish our goals. The way we respond to the distractions around us ultimately determine what type of impact they have on us.
What distractions eat up most of your time? Do you have any tips for conquering distractions? Sound off in the comments section below.
Leverage Your Time Better With A Productivity Pie
When fewer distractions enter your work flow, you have more time to put towards your goals. The next step is to identify the goals that will allow you to achieve the results you are looking for. That’s where the Productivity Pie comes in.
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