Goal setting and productivity:
How they go hand in hand!
It’s SO easy to become distracted and loose productivity without even being aware! I am constantly fighting it. Browser windows open, cell phone on, waiting for something to load so I pop over and open another screen (admittedly it’s probably FB), a quick email check to see if someone has gotten back to me on a project, etc.
Always in my mind it’s just a quick check on this or that while I’m waiting for something.
Even being aware of how unproductive this makes my time, it’s STILL a struggle! The only time I completely block out time and turn off distractions is when I’m working on any project for a coaching client. I feel if I’m billing someone then I need to be 100% focused and 100% not distracted. I’ll do this for others easily. . . That time is super productive and satisfying! Now – to implement that same segmenting and project focus when I’m working on my own tasks. . .
Raising awareness is the first step toward utilizing our time in the most productive manner possible. Implementing strategies to safeguard your time is the second step. Let’s take a look at both.
- Just a single ding, or buzz, from your cell phone can weaken your ability to focus on a task – Florida State University researchers
- Putting your phone or other games aside when you’ve got down time can help to inspire creative ideas. “When you’re bored, four different areas of your brain activate and work together to pull in random thoughts and combine them in unique ways” says psychologist Larry Rosen author of The Distracted Mind
- Research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that only 2.8 seconds of interruption more than doubled the number of errors the participants made. 2.8 seconds! That’s a coworker walking by and commenting that you look very busy today. Yikes
- It takes an average of 25 minutes (23 minutes 15 seconds) to return to the original task after an interruption – Gloria Mark who studies digital distraction at the University of CA, Irvine. For more on this study click HERE It’s fascinating! Maybe you’re a Mozart. . . .
Increasing Productivity – Ward off Distractions
- Block off chunks of project time in your schedule. I block out time on my calendar for projects. During this time, I turn off my cell phone and close browser windows. This is a big one. You’ll feel a grand sense of accomplishment when you dedicate and focus for a period of time – even ½ hour – on one distraction free project. Really! You will!
- Turn off all notifications. Disable the pop up alerts no matter if they’re auditory or just visual. They’re time wasters. Do you really need it on? Think long and hard. If you were my client, would you want 100% focused time on your project or would you like to pay me (or whomever) while I also think about someone else’s project or answer a quick call? My guess is a resounding NO to sharing. I don’t have any alerts pop up ever for email, twitter, text, or any other type of notifications. (My next step is to actually close the email windows.)(What?! While working on this post I heard an email alert. I thought I had that turned off. Made a liar out of me! I’ll get that sneaky thing turned off. Geez. They’re so shifty how these distracting “helpful alerts” wiggle into our day.)
- Take and schedule regular breaks. When you have a set time that you know you’re taking a walk, stretching, or getting some water, your brain becomes more productive. You have, in essence, a deadline. This increases your productivity. See #2 above. Don’t take your phone!
If you’ve read to the bottom and are reading this ‘footnote’ I’m going to put myself out there! I have a big goal that I’ve been a chicken to do/say aloud. If you email me I promise to put it into the newsletter or blog. Yikes! Accountability is my motivator. . .
Shoot me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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