Whether you work at home, in an office, in the service industry, or at any other type of job, increasing productivity is probably one of your main goals (or at least the goal of your employer). With all the distractions of daily life to tear your attention away from the task at hand, it can be difficult to stay on track and get your work done in a timely manner. You just know if you could eliminate outside influences, you could really focus and increase your efficiency exponentially. But how can you cut down on interruptions when many of them are out of your control? In truth it is a lot easier than you think. By making a pretty simple plan and sticking to it, you can remove these unwanted obstacles and get everything done.
1. Pinpoint distractions.
In order to eliminate distractions, you first need to know what’s pulling your focus. Think about the things that cause you to turn away from your work, step away from your desk, and basically drop whatever you’re doing to attend to them. Often you will be distracted by other people, the internet, and your own wandering mind. Luckily, each of these things can be addressed and dealt with.
One of the many problems for people who work at home or in an office is the clutter that comes along with multitasking. With piles of paperwork left unfiled, office supplies stacked willy-nilly in the corner, and post-it notes covering every inch of available space, it’s no wonder you can’t concentrate. If you follow feng shui, this type of physical clutter is what leads to a disorganized mind, making it impossible for you to focus. So clean up, clear away, and make a place for everything. When your office is orderly, you’ll have a much easier time getting things done.
Stop the harassment of ringing phones and pinging emails. Disconnect from the communications technology that controls your life. Set aside time each day to answer messages and email and the rest of the time, keep your tech turned off. You’ll realize better time management and probably a lot less stress.
4. Turn to the arts.
Specifically: music. Studies have shown that classical music has a calming effect on brain activity that helps people to focus and concentrate. So slap on the headphones if you want to avoid the squawking ladies at the water cooler, the yard crew outside with their mowers and blowers, or another hour-long lecture from your boss about how you’re wasting time.
5. Sign up for old-school.
Post a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Keep unwanted intruders from barging in and ruining your flow by posting this classic dis-invitation on your door. Then lock the door. Advise those who need your services to call or email you instead.
6. Plan for the inevitable.
Into everyone’s life a little distraction will come. So plan for it by scheduling “free time” into your day. That way you will retain the flexibility necessary to deal with the eight people who need a cover sheet for their TPS reports, the assistant who can’t get the printer to work, your sister and her ongoing relationship problems, your son forgetting his lunch, and so on. Despite all these everyday emergencies, you should be able to stay on track with just a little planning and preparation.
7. Seek help.
If you have taken the time to eradicate outside distractions but find that you are still functioning at only a modicum of previous productivity, perhaps the real difficulty is internal. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re distracted by personal problems, or for whatever reason, you just can’t seem to concentrate and take an interest in your work. If it turns out that you are your own biggest distraction, consider approaching a counselor or psychiatrist. Perhaps a little therapy will help you clear your head or maybe you just need some medical help to get focused and back on track.
Sarah Myerson writes for Remote Desktop Mac where you can read over the benefits of remote desktop software and receive a free 30 day trial.