Cutting distractions and being more focused is so important whether you work from home like me, work out of the home or maybe even if you don’t work at all (at a job that is). Everyone has their own set of distractions and certain tasks that knock them off track. I don’t know about you, but I can get distracted by the simple fact that there’s really delicious Thai food left overs in the fridge or that there’s an episode of Grey’s Anatomy sitting on Hulu waiting for me to watch it. Add the constant dinging of my phone from social media notifications, emails and texts and it’s a miracle I get anything done with my focus being broken a hundred times each day. Don’t even get me started on the kids being distracting!
Because of all the distractions and my desire to simplify my life and work smarter, not longer, I’ve slowly begun the process of cutting the distractions and have succeeded at gaining more focus on the tasks I need to accomplish for my businesses, blog and even in my personal life. Now that I’m a work at home mom, simplifying and really focusing are even more crucial to being able to fit everything I need to into my life.
I’m going to assume everyone has email these days. And I’m going to just assume everyone gets email all day, every day. I can’t be the only one downing in emails! I used to be one of those people who would check email on their phone half a dozen times times an HOUR because that’s how often my phone would beep to notify me of a new email. Instead of doing this I recommend either setting your phone to only check email when you open the app or, if you can handle it, taking email off of your phone completely.
If you have an iPhone you can change your email settings by going to:
Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Fetch New Data
Now scroll down to the bottom under “Fetch” and select “Manually”. This means that your phone will only check your email when you open the app instead of at a timed interval preventing you from getting interrupted all day.
Another option would be to simply turn off notifications and/or move the Mail app into a folder so you don’t see it and therefore don’t check it as often.
If you’re finding yourself grabbing your phone and looking at a certain app throughout the day (that you really don’t need to look at) then maybe it’s time to remove it from your phone. One of my worst distractions is Facebook. Every few weeks when I find myself extra distracted by it I will remove the app from my phone. Once I do this I’m always so surprised by how many times I grab my phone and try to visit Facebook. You’ll be surprised at how automatic it is and that you’re doing it way more than you think you are once the app is gone and you have to stop and remember that when you pick up your phone.
It’s only temporary (unless you want it to be permanent) so don’t try and convince yourself this is a drastic measure. If there’s an app or anything on your phone that you think might be taking up too much of your time/focus, try removing it for a few days to see how you feel. I bet you’ll feel much better and it’ll help you reset.
I used to have email open all day while I worked. But that led to me clicking over all the time to see if anything new came in. If there were any new emails in my inbox, I felt the need to deal with them right then and there which would completely break my focus on whatever task I was working on before. Keep your email closed while you’re working.
In addition to the above tip, try scheduling a few times a day when you check your email. Chances are nothing urgent is going to come up that can’t wait a few hours. Ideally, I check my email in the morning, mid-afternoon and right before I finish working for the day. Since I’m kind of always working it doesn’t work out as well as I’d like, but when I can stick to just checking email a few times a day I don’t get sidetracked by responding to emails or using them as a to do list when I already have a list of items that need to be done.
Working in blocks of time is one of my favorite ways to work and keep focused. I will usually set my alarm for 15-45 minutes and work until the timer goes off. During this blocked off time I don’t allow myself to check Instagram, wander over to Pinterest or stop to get a snack. I can get so much done in just 15 minutes of true, uninterrupted focus and I bet you can too!
Take a moment to think of everything you do in a day. How much of is it truly necessary? Maybe there are things you can eliminate all together. Maybe there are some things you can cut down from daily to a couple of times a week. A few things I’ve been working on are scheduling all of my social media once a week instead of trying to schedule posts every day. Other ideas might be: saving your filing by having a “to file” folder and filing them at the end of the week instead of everyday or completely removing a certain task like approving all blog comments by allowing anyone to comment and moderating by checking in a couple times a week.
Do you have any tips on removing distractions and being more focused? I’d love to hear them!
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