There’s so many ways to get in touch throughout the workday – Email, Slack channels, texts, online messaging, and don’t even get me started on Social Media. But these technologies can take over your day and drain your productivity away if you don’t learn how to properly handle them. It’s way too easy to lose focus and spend hours of your day responding to seemingly insignificant messages. These are methods I use, but there are many other strategies and resources out there. Stop the productivity drain and regain your work focus by finding the methods that work for you.
Stop the Temptation
Seeing notifications and alerts sends a false sense of urgency. Do you check work emails at lunch? Are you responding to messages while doing other work tasks? All the distraction stops you from thinking deeply and it cuts out the focus you need to get meaningful work completed. Turn off notifications for apps and non-urgent messages. Put your phone somewhere out of site. Try the driving – do not disturb setting.
Planning Email Time
Plan two times to look at emails during the day, I recommend once after lunch, and once before the end of the workday. Another great option for email is delegating it. Trade delegating time with a trusted coworker or have an assistant monitor your email. If something’s urgent, they send it through, if not, it can wait.
Create a Work Schedule and Stick to it
Don’t have a plan? You shouldn’t be surprised then when your time flies by doing tasks that weren’t on your radar. Make an overview of the week and a specific plan, in one-hour chunks for your day. I recommend making 30 minute focused working time chunks, so you’re still able to respond if someone needs you, but you’re not accepting constant interruptions. If you don’t make your schedule, everything around you takes over. This step alone helps me get more done than anything else. Why? It creates accountability. It gives me a compass for what I need to get done, and helps me prioritize tasks. Nine times out of ten, I’ll have the willpower to get back on track fast when a distraction pops up.
Fight Tech with Tech
Messaging is too easy to do, we feel a sense of reward in our brains when we respond to messages, and we check them all the time. It’s a habit that’s gone out of control and it takes more than willpower to curb it. Sometimes blocking the distracting technology is the best way to combat it. Here are some distraction killing apps to try out.
The selfcontrolapp.com (for Mac users) blocks out distracting websites. You add the sites to a list and presto, no more wasted hours on Facebook during your workday.