You might have noticed that technology is all around you. You’ve got your phone, TV, laptop, smart fridges, smart cars, smart everything. And yes, it does make your life much easier and it probably makes your work easier too. But it also slowly and stealthily created a problem: distractions.
Distractions come in many forms – there’s something interesting on your desk, someone walks by you, you overhear a conversation, wind blows and so on. But nowadays you also have the following: Instagram feed, new message on Facebook, funny video on YouTube, news websites, link sharing, instant messaging, nice pictures everywhere. Basically, what you get is a mental overload from just looking at your computer screen.
This can be great, it means you’ll never be bored. But if you have to do some actual work, everything being a click away is disastrous.
So, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to get rid of ever so present digital distractions.
Step 1: Know Your Enemy
Many of us don’t even realize how much time we spend in certain apps or on certain websites. You might have some vague idea, but if you could measure this precisely, it would give you some motivation to actually do something about it.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of productivity tracking tools out there to help you with it. You can use one of many types of time tracker software which can be used to track your time and efficiency. We know, time tracker software is for employers and companies, but anyone can actually use it as their own personal productivity tools.
In many of those productivity tools, you can assign each app or website you use a value of ‘productive’ or ‘unproductive’. This will give you the clearest idea of which apps are most distracting for you.
Step 2: Get Rid of Distractions
OK, now that your productivity monitoring software has shown which apps and websites you have a particular weakness to, it’s time to do something about it.
There’s one very easy way to eliminate the temptation – block the websites, delete social media accounts and uninstall the apps. This is a bit too drastic for some, we understand. But you can only block the sites and apps for the duration of your working hours.
There are other things you can do depending on what your problems are. If your problem is that you spend too much time on your phone, then turn it off entirely while you’re working. If, on the other hand, you like playing video games when you should actually do something productive, having a separate work computer without any games installed might be the right solution for you.
This should solve your problem for now, but your work’s not done yet.
Step 3: Keep at It
Just blocking the distracting apps or installing them on another computer is, believe it or not, a short term solution. Your phone is still there, even if it’s off, and the apps are still there and you might be tempted to unblock them prematurely.
What we’re trying to say is that the first two steps should be an ongoing process. Keep using the time tracker software to measure productivity and time wasted, then act on the data and then go to step one again. Rinse and repeat.
You don’t have to do it all the time, just when you feel like you’re slipping off. Or you can do it periodically. Whatever works.
That’s it! There are just three steps to help you avoid digital distractions. Using monitoring tools to increase productivity, getting the distractions out of sight and being persistent is all it really takes. And remember, a little bit of distraction is normal and understandable. Controlling it is the key to success.