Distractions are always going to be a part of daily life, unless we live inside a bubble and the rest of the world can’t get in. The phone rings, the cat wants to play, the children are fighting, the boss is harping at you, you get an email from someone, the doorbell rings, your neighbors are arguing loudly upstairs…anything can and does happen. All of these things distract us from the tasks we have set for ourselves, especially if the distraction seems more interesting than what we were doing.
But there are ways to remove the distractions from your life so you can get your work done. For one thing, you can practice time management. Most of us think we already do this but if we don’t do it correctly, our time still runs away from us. So, we have to do everything we can to eliminate the distractions around us. Turn off the phone, log out of your favorite social media site, click out of all ‘fun’ sites where you can watch videos or chat with strangers from around the world, and get focused on your task. You can still do all the fun things but they must wait until the important stuff is done.
Decide which tasks are most important and which are least important, and make sure that you accomplish the most important first. This eliminates the stresses and concerns that always come with the more difficult jobs and allows you to have the freedom to do the less important jobs without that overhanging distraction. Do everything according to its time priority. If the task is due tomorrow, start on that one first. The tasks that are due in a few days or a week can wait a little longer.
Keep your workspace clean. When there’s a mess surrounding you, that’s a distraction that keeps you from concentrating on your work. Not only that but the mess can actually ‘eat’ your work, hiding it from you and causing more distractions while you stop work to look for things you’ve lost. Clean up the clutter to make yourself more productive. If you can’t avoid the distractions, remove yourself from them. If your work is on a computer, take your laptop with you and go somewhere where you can have peace and quiet. Get away from conversations, music, television and everything else that distracts you. If you can’t get away from the distractions, then drown them out. Wear earplugs or headphones, anything that keeps the background noises down.
Take periodic work breaks to check up on what is going on around you. Do your work for about an hour and then spend a few minutes checking your phone messages, doing callbacks and emails. Reserve a little time for face-to-face conversations and then get back to work again. Make work the priority and you will actually find yourself wanting to get back to it.