Síguenos / Follow us!
One look at an email can rob you of 15 minutes of focus. One call on your cell phone, one tweet, one instant message can destroy your schedule, forcing you to move meetings, or blow off really important things, like love, and friendship, Jacqueline Leo.
The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life, Andrew Brown
Nowadays, newspapers, television, radio, and the Internet bombard us with information, communication, and entertainment at an unprecedented rate. They are a blessing, but they are also a curse, an obstacle for learning, working, and growing.
How many times have you been working on something and were interrupted by a phone call, a message, an email, etc.? How often do we try to solve a doubt, get some information, and end up looking at Google and reading something completely unrelated? Interruptions have always been a common occurrence, but in this era of communication and connectivity, options have multiplied like mosquitos in a swamp, they have indeed reached a new level.
Interruptions are the most important obstacle for reaching a flow state. They are the enemy of productivity and efficiency. They prevent us from achieving our goals and being successful. Let me suggest a few ways to avoid getting interrupted:
- Clear your desk of any unnecessary clutter and of anything you are not currently working on: papers, empty water bottles and cans, books, CDs, etc. Keep it clean and well-organized.
- Go to a quiet place. Notify your partner, secretary, children, etc., let them know that you are going into your private area and don’t want to be disturbed. If you work in an office, you can put the typical sign “do not disturb me” on the office desk or on the door. Use noise-canceling headphones and listen to classical, instrumental, background music or white noise, anything else with lyrics is a distraction.
- Disconnect. Turn off your phone, tablet, and computer, log out of social media, turn off the notifications on your phone. Don’t check your e-mail, don’t read text messages, don’t answer phone calls (use answering machines and voicemail), and don’t talk to anyone. Set a custom voicemail so you can let callers know you will call them back as soon as you are free and available again.
- Close all windows and applications that are not necessary for the work at hand, especially those related to social networks (you may indicate that you are “absent”) and email. It is more efficient to read your email in blocks, two or three times a day. Use full screen, distraction-free, text editors.
- Keep a list in your agenda or to-do list, Google Tasks, Evernote, or a similar application with the remaining tasks that occur to you while you are working. This serves many purposes. Firstly, you don’t forget important tasks that need to be done. Secondly, you stop worrying about them. Thirdly, you can manage your workload better as you can tell, at any given moment, what you have planned to do, what needs to be prioritized and completed first and what can be done at a little later date. Be aware, you should never accept more jobs than you can handle.
- Establish a daily and weekly work routine that makes the best use of your time, energy, and attention, create time chunks for specific tasks and rest. For example, it is far more efficient to answer all your emails/text messages in one go than checking your email account/messaging app every ten minutes or so. Set up folders in your email account and then filter mail automatically into these folders. By doing so, you can also refer to important emails first.
- Browse Internet effectively: Use feed aggregators, such as Feedly or NewsBlur, so that you can keep track of all the sites that you are following in one single place.
- Do routine work when there are many interruptions and your energy is low. Do not spend more time on a job or in unproductive meetings than they deserve. Work on the most important, highest value tasks when you are at your peak, and also when few interruptions occur. Focus your attention on your current task and forget about all the distractions.
- If someone interrupts, suggests or asks for something, you have the following options: calm down, say no assertively, but gracefully: “Sorry, I can’t listen to you right now. I’m too busy,” “I am really sorry. I’d love to, but I can’t. I just don’t have the time”; delegate it to someone else; write it down on your to-do list and do it later. Don’t jump into a new task unless it is urgent and important. This should be the exception, not the rule.
- It is also important to discern when it is time for being connected and when you need to unplug and have quality time with your partner, children, family, and friends. Don’t multi-task when you are with them. Devote time to your loved ones, focus on them exclusively because you deserve it! You have only one life left, enjoy it, make the most of it!
Compártelo / Share it!