If you want to boost your productivity, one of the fastest, easiest and most effective habits you could take on is the habit of cutting out all distractions. You’ll instantly get more focused, be able to get more done in a day and feel less stressed – all at the same time.
Distractions during the workday might not seem like they’re all that harmful. After all, what’s the big deal behind “just” 10 minutes of Facebook, or a quick chat with your co-worker, or answering that phone call by your significant other?
In reality, though, these distractions can really cut down on your productivity. Here’s why and what to do about it.
==> The True Cost of Distractions
Distractions are deceptively dangerous. Most people fail to see the true cost behind distracting activities. To illustrate the point, let’s look at Facebook.
If you’re doing 10-minute Facebook sessions throughout your day, it doesn’t just cost you 10 minutes of productivity.
For one, you’ll often have to spend quite a bit of time getting back into gear once you stop checking Facebook. It also prevents you from getting in “The Zone.” Periods of focused work can only happen without distraction.
Let’s say you take five 10-minute Facebook sessions throughout the day. It takes you 10 minutes to get back into work mode after Facebooking. That’s a whopping 1 hour and 40 minutes out of your day from just Facebook alone.
Once you add in all the different distracting activities in a day, you can see how it quickly adds up. 10-minute distractions might not seem like much, but over the course of a day they make a big difference.
==> Cut Out Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Email, StumbleUpon, etc
Perhaps the most important types of distractions you could cut out are digital distractions. Sites like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, StumbleUpon and even email should be off limits during the workday.
Email can be checked at specific times in the day, like in the morning, at noon and at the end of the work day. Incessantly checking email is just distracting, not productive.
==> Interpersonal Distractions
Other common types of distractions include water cooler conversations, phone calls, “just popping in” co-workers and so on. If you run a home business, distractions could include your spouse, the kids or roommates if you live with others.
Set up a system so the people who work or live with you know when you need to get productive work done. It could be something as direct as a sign on the door, or something as indirect as a pair of headphones in your ears. If someone tries to distract you, just politely let them know you’re not available, unless it’s urgent.
Cutting out distracting activities will make a big difference on your concentration and on the amount of productive work you get done in a day. Try it for a week or two to see how it works for you.