As someone who has struggled with distractions, I’ve always looked for ways to improve the way I spend my time.
Running a business is demanding but can also be extremely rewarding if your time is managed properly. When I did not manage my time properly I made personal sacrifices which resulted in resentment towards the business. After years of trying exploring techniques to balance my time my relationship with the business has greatly improved resulting in a healthy work/life balance.
The Impact of Distrations
In an article from Atlassian, the illustrate how much of negative impact distractions in the workplace have.
Interruptions per day for the average employee
Minutes spent working before the average employee switches tasks
Hours spent on average recovering from distractions per day
Percentage of distractions per day that are considered trivial
Times the average employee checks their email in an hour
Minutes spent refocusing after handling an incoming email.
I’ve personally experienced much of the above and recall a time where my day would take complete ownership of my life due to allowing myself to get distracted and external factors control my time. The following are some of the easy and accesisble tips that I’ve found to help me live a less distracted life.
One review of 23 different studies found that in general, people who’ve been meditating for just a few months perform better on tasks that test their ability to shut out distractions, while longer-term meditators show a markedly improved ability to maintain focus for especially long periods of time.
- Use an app like Headspace
- Practice regularly, ideally daily
- Reward yourself for practicing consistently
2. Create a Distraction-Free Environment
Invest time in removing distractions from your working environment to optimize how your time is spent. Distractions can come from people, devices, and yourself.
- Turn off notifications
- Turn off / stash cell phone
- Keep a tidy inbox
- Block task time in a calendar
- Work offline
- Keep a tidy workspace
- Inform others to not disturb
3. Use Timeboxed Intervals
Timeboxing is a heads-down approach to focusing on a task within the confines of time. Timeboxing can be used for both work and play. Timeboxing Much relates to a psychological principle called Parkinson’s Law, which states that work will expand to fill the time you allow for its completion.
- Use your calendar
- Commit to the start/stop time
- Timebox leisurely activities and work
4. Plan Your Objectives
The simple concept of planning combined with other methods will drastically help you both set and reach your objectives. Breaking down your tasks and prioritizing what will be most impactful ensures you will close out your day feeling fulfilled resulting in less stress.
- Plan before starting anything else
- Prioritize don’t over commit
- Focus on one large or 2–3 smaller tasks per day
- Use estimations to assess tasks
- Identify and focus on dependencies first
5. Limit Work In Progress
Leveraging from production and agile methodology work-in-progress or WIP refers to the number of tasks being worked on at one time. When focusing on starting a task and driving it to completion you can accomplish more. This method eliminates the buildup of tasks and bottlenecks.
- Define what “done” means for a task
- Break large tasks into small ones
- Close other windows/apps
- Use a todo app or task manager
In summary, there are a million ways to get distracted and many effective ways to avoid getting distracted. Building a healthy practice in which you learn from your failures to develop healthy habits can be immensely impactful for living a fulfilling life.
A value of ours at Nolte is to Help Others Grow. To embrace this value, each member of Nolte produces content for Nolte Lightning Talks on our YouTube channel. This article is an excerpt from my lightning talk presentation (video below)
Have a great tip on how you stay focused or have any questions for me? Leave a comment below and I reply ASAP.