Think about it. How do you deal with distraction? What do you do when you’re working on one thing and then something else vies for your attention? How you manage this is your “distraction reaction” and it’s crucial to how successfully you manage your time.
Types of “Distraction Reaction”
Some people will stop what they are doing, deal with the new thing and then maybe go back to what they were doing before or get completely distracted and do something else altogether. not a great time management technique but an easy habit to fall into (especially if you are procrastinating about the original task in the first place!).
Others will ignore the new task, or distraction, entirely, until they have finished what they are working on, and then they will deal with it. Even more restrained people will put it on their priority list and get it to in the proper order.
I’m kind of in the middle.
If I’m working on something and an email comes in, I’ll always check it. If it’s something I can deal with quickly and easily then I’ll deal with it there and then, so I can get back to what’s requiring my concentration. If it’s more involved, it gets shelved until I have finished my current task.
Minimising your distractions
I think my approach is a kind of controlled attitude, but it’s also why I keep my Tweetdeck closed most of the day so that I’m not distracted from other tasks and it’s also why I won’t answer the phone if I am in the middle of something because I can’t control who is at the end iof it, what they might want to talk about and how long it will last. I know my tendency to a distraction reaction is to DEAL WITH IT and so, in order for me to keep my days on track I reduce my distractions opportunities to the minium.
If you are easily distracted then you might want to look at how you can reduce those opportunities so that you can be in control of your time and your focus.
- If email is your issue, and an hour can slip by before you know it, then check them in the morning and shut the programme down until you have finished what you are doing.
- If it’s social media, then again have a quick check, do what you need to do and then shut it down. if you tend to spend an hour a day on something like Twitter then time yourself so you don’t end up spending half the day on there – it’s soooo easy to do.
- If it’s your phone, then turn it off or unplug until you are free again.
- Or if it’s other tasks competing for your attention because you have so much to do, then create a to-do list, prioritise that list and simply force yourself to follow it.
No matter how you deal with them, distractions are just that: distractions. They are events that take your attention away from the tasks you are working on, or have planned to work on, and this means that those tasks just end up taking longer because you are constantly being pulled away from them.
Have a think about your distraction and figure out what takes your attention away. Once you know this, then take appropriate steps to shut them down. You’ll find you become more effective and productive without having to put any more effort in. Enjoy! 🙂