Deal with Distractions and Be More Productive

Learn to deal with inevitable distractions that impact our productivity

Deal with Distractions and Be More ProductiveIf we lived in a perfect world we would be so focused on our work that we would allow nothing to distract us. But as you know we live in the real world where everything is not perfect and it doesn’t always work in the way we would like it to! In fact, it rarely works that way. So what can we do to deal with distractions that inevitable impact our productivity on an almost hourly basis?

Types of Distractions

There are many different things that can cause you to feel distracted. The biggest source of distractions in this day and age are the constant phone calls and emails that always seem to need urgent replies. You may also have distractions such as coworkers who regularly ask if you have a minute because they want to have conversations that can be either work-related or social.

Then there’s an entire online world of information including the dreaded social media that you can turn to. Even if you only plan to check a source for a moment, you can waste hours without even realizing it.

And what about if you work from home, you may feel the pull of household duties and chores pulling you away from work. Often when we work from home, our relatives and friends think that we’re not busy and that we must be lonely and find ways to interrupt work time.

Deal with Distractions

Even if you’re surrounded with distractions, you can set up a work environment to combat them and be productive. In order to deal with distractions, it’s important to establish priorities for your day. With most business it’s impossible to avoid phone calls and emails that need to be returned.

But what you can do is set aside a specific time of day that you’ll handle those replies. For example, you may decide that the first thing you’ll do each morning is respond to any new emails or phone calls and that you’ll do so twice more at different times throughout the day.

In the meantime, you’ll keep distractions down by sending calls to voicemail and shutting down your email window. While this doesn’t work for every office environment, it can work for many.

If you really enjoy social media or social time with coworkers, you can schedule it instead of letting it become a distraction. For example, you can plan your lunch break to be a time to relax and do things that take your mind off of work.

You can even schedule two or three 10 minute breaks throughout the day for social time. Knowing that time is coming can help you stay motivated to be on task the rest of the time. If you work from home, it’s necessary to set boundaries with the people in your life so that your work takes priority.

You don’t have to answer every phone call. And if you feel household chores calling your name on a daily basis, schedule time to work on those so that you don’t have to spend time thinking about them.

Finally, if you’re distracted by ideas that hit you throughout the day it’s a good idea to write them down. Keep a notepad nearby so that you can write them down and give yourself permission to come back to them later.

What strategies do you have to deal with distractions? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next time

Mike Gardner – The time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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18 thoughts on “Deal with Distractions and Be More Productive

  1. Good stuff Mike, I worked from home for many years and the biggest problem I had were family members who never really “got” the idea that I was working. It took a long time to get them trained.
    Robert recently posted…Work At Home Article PackMy Profile

    • Hi Robert, thanks for dropping by. It can be hard for friends and family to realise we’re actually working, but as you say they are trainable 🙂

  2. Mike you hit a mark on this one. I deal with distractions all the time. I have Adhd and ADD which adds to the distraction part as I see things all the time. Like as I type this the tv is on that my stepdad is watching. I not only can hear it though my back is to the tube. I see a reflection of the tv in my glasses I wear. Just those 2 things keep me on the move and so forth.

    I loved what you had to write here.

    All The Best
    Edward Haberthur

  3. Powerful post on dealing with distractions Mike! Closing down emails is simply a must these days, because it’s veeery distracting! Thank you for sharing these solutions!

  4. Working from home, I certainly understand about family members not thinking you are busy or even really working 🙂 so I think those are the most difficult distractions to limit and certainly cannot successfully be timed 😀

    • Thanks for visiting Cassi. This is a massive problem when working from home, some of my clients have resorted to puuting their opening hours on the office door until family members take the hint

    • Hi Mary, thanks for dropping by. Making the best use of your day is a top tip, especially when working from home, not everyone can do a regulated 9-5

  5. I needed this one Mike. Distractions are always plenty, and it doesn’t help that I work from home. You’re right when you say that family doesn’t believe that you’re truly busy 🙂 Hopefully, I can develop iron-clad self discipline so that I won’t fall prey to the same distractions over and over again.
    Davina recently posted…It’s Time to Cut Out the ExcessMy Profile

  6. It’s definitely a challenge Mike.

    One of the things that works best for me to shut out distractions is to find some good music and pop on my headphones which helps to block out everything around me… even has the added bonus of making people think twice about tapping me on the shoulder for a conversation 🙂

  7. Great article, Mike! My favorite way to avoid distractions is to turn all notifications for email off (on my phone, laptop, and tablet.)

    Believe me – I will not forget to check my email!

    When you keep the notification for email on, you are letting others dictate what you should focus on.

    • Thanks Sharon, you’re so right, for me i tell people that by answering the phone when it rings and looking at email as soon as it comes in, you are in effect giving others permission to manage your time