It doesn’t matter how much time you spend sitting in front of the computer. What matters is how you use that time. And we all know that getting distracted is very easy : a tweet, a look at Facebook, a review of the latest news, chat with a friend you didn’t even remember …
Distractions are, in part, unavoidable. No professional can stay 100% all day. But there are ways to reduce those distractions to increase productivity .
We present them summarized:
- Schedule breaks
Rest times are essential to return to work with a clear mind and charged batteries. If you don’t stop from time to time, your mind does not rest, and that always ends up taking its toll. So:
– Schedule your breaks. Don’t wait for fatigue to appear. Set rest times in advance.
– Stay on schedule. If you’ve planned a 15-minute break at 12 noon, make sure you stick to it. Some tasks are very demanding, but there is no point in continuing to work until exhaustion. Nor is it worth stretching rest times. Stick to the forecasts and you will be able to maintain a productive rhythm.
– Rest is to rest… Talking on the phone about work, or chatting with a friend about your latest project cannot be considered a break. Remember: the goal is for you to be able to disconnect to return with a clear mind.
- Get ready to handle interruptions
There are interruptions that are very difficult to avoid. For example, a phone call, a visitor who arrives at your home or office without warning, a computer that breaks or a power failure.
Here’s the best thing you can do to handle these outages:
– Keep calm. Whatever happens, it is not worth getting angry: you will lose concentration and it will take even longer to regain your work rhythm.
– Write down where you are. Take advantage of that moment before the interruption to note where you are in your work, or what idea you were working on. When the phone rings, or when there is a knock on the door, write down what you are doing, and what you were going to do next. This way, it will take you less time to get back to work.
– Request an extension to complete the task. Whenever possible, ask whoever interrupts you for 15 or 20 minutes before attending. This way you will have time to finish the task you are concentrating on. This method is more practical than starting over from the middle.
- Control sources of distraction
Many times, being “connected” becomes an obsession. It is very entertaining to receive messages and emails every minute, but these distractions are bad for your productivity. No one can concentrate on work with so many stimuli. We need time to think without interruption.
Here are some helpful measures:
– Silence the mobile and leave it out of your sight
– Group the calls you need to make to ensure that you have at least a couple of hours without interruption every day.
– Limit the number of times you consult your email accounts. Try to group your answers to send them by blocks. That is to say: instead of sending a response every 15 minutes, reserve -for example- the last hour of the morning to write and send them all. It is much more effective, and it allows you to stay focused.
– If you are going to use Facebook or Twitter, make sure it is during your rest times.
- Find out what your productive zone is and take advantage of it
Find out what time of day you are most productive: there are people who perform better in the early hours of the morning and other professionals who prefer the tranquility of the night; Some start off hard and deflate as the day progresses; others, on the other hand, start out half asleep and gain concentration hour by hour.
The important thing is that you are aware of what your peak performance hours are: that is your productive zone. You can take advantage of that time slot to tackle the most demanding tasks. Try to keep those moments free from outside interruptions.
- Find room for inspiration
Many jobs require a lot of creative input. And sometimes we are so focused on finishing tasks on time that we don’t leave time for inspiration: to think and to discover new ways of doing things, new stimuli capable of unleashing our creativity.
Projects have to be completed on time, it is true, but the quality of our work increases when we take time to reflect on what we do and how we do it. Otherwise, our production runs the risk of becoming monotonous and repetitive. Keep in mind that that creativity, that spark, can make a difference with other professionals.
So find that room for inspiration. Read, rest, find some time to think before starting to do, investigate new things, find out what is happening, take an interest in activities other than yours. Take advantage of creative distractions to raise the quality of your work.