“Success in any endeavor requires single-minded attention to detail and total concentration.”
– Willie Sutton
Do you know that the average worker in the United States loses 2.1 hours per day due to interruptions and distractions? Even worse – on average it took 25 minutes to return to their original task – if they returned to it at all.
2.1 hours a day is significant – think of all you could do if you had 2 extra hours every day. We can use many strategies to make more time, but it’s all for nothing if we end up losing it due to distraction.
Today I’m going to share with you exactly how I beat distraction – so I can stay focused and get what I need done, fast.
Some studies have shown people checked their email up to 40 times per hour.
I limit myself to 3-5 times per day (and never first thing in the morning!).
If you’re constantly distracted online – the first thing to cut is checking email (and yes, all your social media accounts too)
Stop Answering the Phone
How often does someone really need to speak to you right that instant?
Answer: not often. Let it go to voice mail – and respond on your schedule.
Even better – respond by email. Don’t call and become their distraction.
Defend Your Workspace
For some this may mean closing your door.
For me on my computer, I use different web browsers for business versus personal.
Similarly, keep your work space for work.
Not only will it prevent distraction – it’ll help you psychologically associate your workspace with a productive driven mindset.
Clear That Desk
One of the my early productivity warning signs is a messy desk.
Unfortunately, a messy desk can also make it difficult to concentrate: studies have even shown that visually seeing clutter is emotionally draining.
So do yourself a favor and clear your desk. Going to full screen mode on my computer serves a similar purpose.
Put On Headphones
If you’ve worked in a shared office, library or coffee, you’ve probably seen people deeply focused with headphones on.
Even without music – put headphones on to send a signal: I’m engaged with what I’m doing. You’re far less likely to be interrupted or spoken to.
Plan & Prepare For Work
Get any tools, documents, notes you need up front – so you never have to get up in the middle to get some information, or find that piece of paper – or whatever it is.
I lay out my game plan before I start working, and pull out all the pieces I need.
Not only does being organized like this help me accomplish my tasks, having everything at my fingertips means I don’t have to spend time looking for things to get started.
Take Breaks To Keep Your Rhythm
Take breaks often, before you lose focus – and with a clear idea of where to pick up.
When you reach a good milestone, but could work longer, don’t finish the task.
Instead, note what you need to do and then spend a few minutes stretching, or closing your eyes to rest, reflect and focus.
When you come back to your work, your attention span has reset – and it’s easy for you to pick up and get back into it.
Many of the techniques I’ve learned have come from research and careful personal experimentation over the years.
I’ve also started showing some of these strategies to friends and clients – and the end result is a process I call Effortless Productivity.
If you’re interested in that, it’s bonus course included free in The Action Solution (my premier paid training program).
You don’t want to live a life always feeling like a slave to your distractions – and you don’t have to. If you are struggling, or want more, I will guide you with the techniques I have used in my own life to take action and get what I want. Take a look now: The Action Solution: Advanced Training Techniques to Take Action In Your Life. It is the result of decades of experience, and hundreds of hours of making dreams a reality for real people – and it might just be the turning point you need in your life.
- How To Actively Take Control of Your Time and Your Life
- Are You Really Working – or Just Using Metawork as an Excuse to Avoid Real Work?
- Stop Wasting Time Online! Tips and Start Pages To Improve Concentration Online
Sources: PDF No Task Left Behind? Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work. Gloria Mark, Victor M. Gonzalez, Justin Harris. 2007 University of Glasgow Research Study