Defeat distractions with these tips and concepts on how to stay productive. Read on to find out more.
In this article:
- Fighting Biological Distractions
- Fighting Environmental Distractions
- Fighting Mental Distractions
- Fighting Social Distractions
- Fighting Digital Distractions
23 Ways To Fight Different Kinds Of Distractions
Fighting Biological Distractions
If you don’t care for your body properly, it’s responses can become distractions. Treat your body right and it’ll treat you right back.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You’re not you when you lack sleep. Your performance and productivity may suffer when the sluggish zombie in you takes over.
The general advice is to get at least eight hours of sleep at night but that varies from person to person. Find that sweet spot and plan your bedtime properly to get the right amount of zzzs every day.
2. Nap Strategically
Even if you get the perfect amount of sleep, you may still get drowsy from time to time. Short naps, around 20-30 minutes, can help improve your alertness and performance.
3. Have a Meal Plan
When hunger calls, it can throw off your game. Having your meals prepped and scheduled saves time because you won’t have to overthink what your next meal will be.
Having healthy snacks within reach can also help tame the monster in your stomach.
4. Hydrate Properly
You can get headaches and a dry mouth when you’re dehydrated. Both can be really annoying and distractive so always keep a water bottle near you.
5. Go Easy on Caffeinated Drinks
The caffeine high from coffee, soda, or energy drinks may raise your energy levels and focus for a bit, but the crash when it wears off can be distracting.
6. Start Your Morning Right
Avoid checking your emails first thing in the morning so your productivity for the day won’t be influenced so early on.
Spend some “me time” and do something for you — eat a good breakfast, exercise or meditate, or read the news. This will raise your energy levels and provide you with the fuel you’ll need to take on the day.
Fighting Environmental Distractions
These are the kind of distractions we’re in total control of. To increase productivity, you have to make your work area conducive t0 focus.
7. Silence Is Your Friend
Working in a quiet place can help you stay focused and get through those deadlines quicker. If in the office or a co-working space, using noise-canceling headphones might help.
A cluttered work area can decrease productivity because a disorganized environment can induce stress and lower mood. Although subtly, your surroundings can still affect your mental state.
9. Be Tidy and Organized
It’s one thing to clean up and organize your workplace, but keeping it that way is another story. A simple thing you can do: return something where you got it after using it.
Fighting Mental Distractions
The mind is a friend and a foe. When it wanders off, you’re pretty much done.
10. Plan Out Your Days (or Months)
When you have a clear cut monthly, weekly, and/or daily goals, you can better prioritize your tasks. Not doing so may lead to a misallocation of your attention — you’ll have to use more time every day to decide which job has to be done first and so on.
Having a “map” of your goals give your utmost control on how you spend your attention. It also helps you stay focused on each rather than trying to do everything all at once.
You don’t have to plan out your days to the dot. Breaking them down to at least three major daily goals is ideal.
11. Practice Smart Attention Allocation
What time of the day are you most focused? When are you most likely distracted?
Knowing how your attention span and energy levels work throughout the week can help you figure out the optimal time to take on specific tasks.
On those days when you’re more focused, work on tasks that require the most brain power. You can finish tasks that don’t need much thinking during periods of lesser focus.
12. Be Familiar With Your Emotional States
Procrastination is a renowned enemy of productivity. An interesting New Yorker article argues that procrastination is an emotional regulation problem.
She writes that it’s a way of coping with challenging emotions certain tasks bring about. Some of these emotions include self-doubt, anxiety, insecurity, boredom, and frustration.
How you feel about a task affects your performance. Make sure to analyze your feelings and find ways of fighting the negative feeling the task induces.
You can try positive framing and self-soothing. For example, if you think the task is too hard for you, remind yourself your boss wouldn’t have assigned it to you if he/she doesn’t believe you can do it.
Fighting Social Distractions
While these are things are out of your control, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about them.
13. Use Headphones
You can use them to blast your concentration music, cancel out office noise, or as your do-not-disturb prop.
14. Let Your Working Style Be Known
You can always respectfully tell your officemates or, if you’re working remotely, whoever you’re living with, about how you like to work. This will let them know when and how to properly approach you when you’re in the zone.
15. Choose Which Meetings You Say Yes to
Is it really necessary or can it be discussed via email? Is your presence really needed in the meeting?
If it’s something that doesn’t really need your attention, politely decline and state your reasons for saying no.
16. Avoid Scheduling Multiple Meetings in a Row
Since you’ll most likely have very little time to do focused, productive work, it’s not a great idea to spread out a couple of meetings throughout the space of a day. This is the ultimate momentum killer.
Fighting Digital Distractions
The most wicked distractions of it all — our screens.
17. Keep Your Phone Out of Sight and Reach
Out of sight, out of mind, indeed.
18. Organize Your Laptop Applications
Keep your apps to a minimum to avoid getting off track.
19. Declutter Your Smartphone
Get rid of unnecessary apps that take too much of your time. Keep the apps you use for work on your first screen and move everything else to the next screens for harder access.
20. Turn Off Notifications
If you have a check-your-phone reflex when hearing or seeing notifications, it’s best to turn it off.
21. Install Extensions or Software to Limit Internet Use
Here are some you can download for free to help you curb your Internet use:
22. Set Time for Social Media Use
It’s best not to browse your feed during the first few hours of your day. This will give you more control of your day because the decrease in external stimuli lets you focus on your thoughts better.
23. Delete Distractive Apps
This actually is a great behavioral conditioning technique.
Change your passwords to something more complicated. With a long password, you’ll make it harder for your brain to get the reward it’s seeking.
This increases the chance of you getting frustrated and avoiding the apps altogether.
Slowly incorporate these simple productivity hacks to your routine and become a master of fighting off 21st-century distractions. Remember that even seemingly small steps, when compounded, can help you get through the longest of to-do lists in no time.
Do you know other ways to be more productive? Share your productivity tips in the comments section below!
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