Your world is full of distractions. The email never stops. The phone rings off the hook. Someone’s always wanting something of you. And while there’s not a whole lot you can do to reduce or eliminate those distractions, you can attack them from the flank: develop and commit to habits that improve your productivity. Here are three…
Wake Up Early
Everyone loves their sleep, but if you give yourself an extra hour in the morning—before anyone else capable of distracting you is up—you’ll start the day out right. Take that hour to prioritize your day. Or, take that time to plow through email so you aren’t peeking in and out of your inbox throughout the day. Spend that hour with your family! Actually make and eat a wholesome breakfast. No matter what you do with that hour, do just one thing. Why just one thing? To minimize distractions, of course! Plus, you’ll be amazed at how starting the morning off focused on just one thing can help set the tone for the rest of the day.
Letting others know that you are working on something important is critical. You don’t want to be a shut-in jerk, but if you’ve got work to do, you’ve got work to do! If your company uses instant digital communication tools like Skype or G-Chat, use the “Do Not Disturb / Busy” status functionality. Include a status message that notes what you’re working on. If in-office “pop-ins” are the bane of your existence, communicate to your team your “Do Not Disturb” hours and what signals indicate such. (Bonus Tip from the Kashoo Engineering Desk: If you work in an open space with lots of conversations and hustle and bustle, headphones are your best friend. They indicate you are in the zone. You don’t even have to have music on… though we highly recommend it.)
Clean Up Your Browser
This tip applies mainly to folks who spend their day at a computer, on the web. A browser that has 34 tabs open is a distraction in itself. It is human nature to “see what you’re missing.” In a way, it’s a form of #FOMO. Anything new in the email tab? Did that colleague jump into the document you shared yet? Any change to the tab that’s tracking ecom sales? Did anyone like your company’s Facebook update? If you think about it, having 34 browser tabs open is the epitome of distraction. Rule of thumb: if you’re not using a tab specifically for the task at hand within the next hour, close it out. You can always pull it out of your history.
Obviously this list can go on and on, but for the sake of being super-productive, we’ll end it there! What’s your top productivity tip? Tweet it at us.