We all have responsibilities and projects to complete every day, and there are many demands and distractions that work against us. Whether it’s coworkers, the phone, email, social media temptations or kids, distractions are all around us.
Procrastination and avoidance are easy responses to projects we can’t focus on, are not looking forward to, or are feeling overwhelmed about.
When you have a project to do or an assignment to write, you will have the most success if you plan ahead for the inevitable distractions. Setting yourself up to succeed is the first step in conquering distractions.
Here are eight tips for staying focused and avoiding distractions when working:
Tip #1: Commit to a time. Tell yourself that you are going to push everything else aside and focus on this one project for a certain amount of time. It could be 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or however much time you think you’ll need and you have to spare. It doesn’t really matter how much time it is, just pick it and commit to it.
Tip #2: Organize your workspace. Whether you are working at your desk, a conference room or a comfy chair, make your workspace neat and orderly. Keep the things you’ll need close by, and remove other items – such as files, magazines or other uncompleted projects – that could distract you from your work.
Tip #3: Grab your favorite beverage. Water, tea, coffee or a soda can give you the thirst-quenching satisfaction you need to keep working for your committed time period.
Tip #4: Turn off your digital distractions. This includes your email, office phone, mobile phone and social media accounts. Mute the alerts and notifications that go along with all of them.
Tip #5: Close your door. If possible, eliminate distractions and alert those in your office that you are hard at work by keeping your door closed. This will prevent your coworkers from casually dropping in for an unnecessary conversation.
Tip #6: Select your background noise. For me, it’s silence. I prefer to work in the quiet. But other people work best with music, white noise, or the buzz of people around them. Know what background you can be most productive in, and get it going before you start.
Tip #7: Don’t edit. Just write. If you are writing a blog or an article for your newsletter, don’t stop every couple of sentences to work out the kinks. Just get as much written as you can. You will go back and tweak it later.
Tip #8: Reward yourself. Congratulate yourself for staying focused and completing your goal. Grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk outside. Having an incentive can motivate us to get the job done.
The most important part of staying focused is to know your weakness. If you can’t stop checking Facebook, close the app. If your phone keeps you hopping, turn it off. You can call or text them back. Self-discipline takes practice, but the more you do it, the better you will become at it. Committing to staying focused will help you be a more productive and efficient worker.
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