Want to hear a scary fact? It takes approximately 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task if you’re distracted at work. Source. I’m not just talking about your noisy office mate – in many cases, you distract yourself. Yep, the biggest offender when it comes to interruptions is emails and texts.
Let’s say you’re working on a blog post. You’re in the flow, things are going good, and then your phone notifies you of a new email. So you switch to your email to see your credit card is past due. Crap! You thought you paid that! Next, you check your bank balance. Nope, no payment to the credit card. While inside your bank account, you notice you have a lot of debit card transactions from your local coffee shop. You decide those homemade croissants are the reason you’ve gained 10 pounds in the last couple of months. No more coffee shop for you. Maybe you should join a gym. Oh, look! The one closest to you is running a 3-month free promo! You better sign up now before you forget. Card declined. Oh, yeah…you forgot to pay the card. Back to the credit card site you go. Pay the card. Okay. Now back to that blog post…wait…what were you writing again? There’s a reason they call it a web. You’ve already been stuck in it for an hour. Now, take 23 minutes to try to get back into your train of thought. But you’re hungry…so go get a snack so you can think better.
If that sounds like a normal day in your life, you’ve got company. In this world of technology and instantaneous communication, interruptions and distractions are very real time suckers. In the scenario above, the person has already lost two hours of work time today. While you can’t eliminate interruptions altogether, there are a few tricks to getting more done today.
- Turn off your desktop notifications and put your phone on silent so nothing interrupts you. Texts, emails, and social media are all productivity killers.
- Decide you’re going to finish what you’re working on, and then you’re going to take a break before moving on to the next task. During that break, you can respond to the texts, emails, online dating notifications, etc. For some, it’s easier to stay on task if you reward yourself after you finish.
- Keep a notepad next to you for your self-interruptions. If you’re sitting there writing a blog post and you suddenly remember you need a new refrigerator, make a note to check product reviews during your next break. Jotting it down and getting it out of your head allows you to refocus faster.
- Bring on a trusty a virtual assistant. You’ll never be able to avoid all the interruptions that crop up in the course of a day. A virtual assistant can take some tasks off your plate, allowing you more time to take care of things like refrigerator research, credit card bills, and your next soul mate. Not sure what to delegate? Start with the thing that you’re most distracted from doing. Chances are you’re just not into that task, and that’s why your mind is wandering in the first place.
While you may never have eight full hours of productivity, a little bit of self-direction and delegation can help you to get a lot more done.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,
P.S: Need some help so you can get more out of your day? Let’s chat!