How to Stop Getting Distracted and Get Work Done!
Technology is making it easier, and easier, and easier for you to run your businesses on the go. You can sit in a coffee shop and meet with clients over a laptop, tablet, or hybrid device. You can check your emails while you wait for your lunch to get done. And your business phone line, cloud storage, email, calendar, and a myriad of other tools is with you for the ride.
But too much of a good thing can leave you feeling stretched thin and feeling like you accomplished nothing at the end of the day. Let’s look at some life hacks that will help you stop getting distracted and unsupported, so you can actually get some work done!
#1 Know and Anticipate Your Own Sabotaging Ways
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle
The University of California Irvine conducted a study to look at interruptions and their causes and effects on office workers. They determined that the average person’s ability to stay focused on one task only lasts for about 3 minutes before they are distracted. The crazy part is that 44% of those distractions that are getting in the way of productivity are internal to the person! Seriously! Constant interruptions, hunger, boredom, stress, and lack of sleep were the root cause for not getting things done.
So what can you do about it?
Well, for starters, pay attention to yourself.
- Seek a quite place for a specific time that is dedicated to getting your work completed without interruption.
- When do you normally get hungry during the day? Keep a healthy snack handy to satiate those cravings.
- Do you find yourself getting super tired at the same time each day? Take a short 15-minute power nap and avoid eating heavy foods around that time.
- Mix up your to-do list when you can. Instead of grouping all your boring tasks together, mingle them in around more interesting stuff so you can avoid long spans of mind-numbing drudgery.
#2 The Other 56% of Distractions & How to Conquer Them
If you are causing 44% of your own distractions, then that leaves 56% of hair-pulling moments coming from other sources. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it!
Since you work on the go, you are likely experiencing symptoms of manic craziness throughout your day that include:
- Phone calls, texts, or social media dings that otherwise make you start to feel like you’ll throw your phone against the wall or out a window of an on-going car… if you hear one more pingy-chime from hell.
- Well-meaning people that want to chat about random things. Even though you know they are a good person, you picture them with devil horns and a pointy tail as soon as you see them coming.
- Not-so-well-meaning people that seem to suck your time into oblivion while you feel the life seeping out of your body every second.
- Pets (if you work from home) that seem to feel every millisecond that you approach productivity as a lost chance for a belly rub, a walk, or cuddle.
So what do you do? You can’t be mean to nice people (or mean people – you do run a business after all, sorry)… and that phone call could be a new client… or an existing client that you have to keep happy so they don’t trot away to a competitor… and what’s one little belly rub between fur-friends…
But you have to defend your right to uninterrupted time! You’ll never get ahead if you don’t.
- Throw up a busy message on your instant messenger.
- Wear headphones while you’re sitting in the coffee shop, even if you don’t turn the music on, you will seem less approachable.
- Sit with your back to the crowd where possible, so people are less likely to recognize or approach you.
- Give your fur-babies a toy. You can find tons of great ideas for DIY treats so you can keep them entertained on a budget.
- Stand up when someone approaches you and stay standing while you talk. This subtle cue will give them less motivation to get comfortable and more reason to get to the point.
- Turn off your ringer. I mean it! Block out chunks of time where you don’t even look at your phone. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes at a time, you will get more done, I swear!
- If possible, block out a whole day each week as “me time.” Use this time as your time to focus on you, focus on your business, and for doing the things you missed through the week.
#3 Consider Virtual Office Space with Meeting Space Access
When you do all of this and it’s still not enough, sometimes the best answer is to get access to a space that lets you work or meet with clients in peace and offers confidentiality for conversations. Virtual office spaces like ours will include a certain amount of time in the meeting spaces each month and other perks.
A virtual office means you may get the benefits of a business street address. You have a team of staff support to receive your mail, hand deliveries, or guests while you’re being productive with other stuff; but you also get some actual quiet time to get work done. You can hide away, and have a meeting with a client without the background buzz of coffee shops and restaurants, or just use the space and focus on answering emails and phone calls, or just hide from business crazy!