Our days are full of distractions, from phones that don’t stop ringing to apps that don’t stop dinging. Each time we pause from one task, it takes us several seconds to a few minutes to get our minds back on track. This may not seem like much of an impact, but it can really add up over the course of a day. Not to mention all the time that is lost during meetings because someone was multi-tasking when they are asked a question and needs to regroup before they answer. It may seem like this is simply the way we do business today, but there are ways that you can eliminate distractions and be more productive during your workday.
Be Singularly Focused
Each task that passes your desk isn’t the highest priority. When you rigorously prioritize your work, it can help create a singular focus on the task at hand. When you absolutely must get something accomplished, train yourself to turn off everything else — turn your phone on airplane mode, pause email notifications and send your office phone straight to voice mail. Close all applications other than the one you’re working in at that moment, or go old school with a pad and paper in a quiet corner of the office where you know you won’t be disturbed. This singular focus on a task allows you to put all of your brainpower behind it, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly and efficiently you’re able to get things accomplished.
Be Ruthless in Meetings
Meetings today can be quite a challenge, with people working remotely and others tied to their laptops or tapping away on their phones. If you want to have a truly productive meeting, then you have to get a little ruthless! Schedule your meetings for a shorter period of time, and set up the expectations as soon as everyone is in the room. Ask for agreement from the room that everyone will leave their phones off and turned over, so they are not running the risk of distractions. Even a 15-minute meeting can accomplish great things if you have the full mental capacity of everyone in the room focused on the task at hand.
Being productive doesn’t have to mean constantly locking yourself into a corner or alienating colleagues by closing your office doors. You can find pockets of productivity in your day when you can focus on your most important tasks, providing you with the structure that you need to help move your organization — and your life — in a positive direction.