Managing Work Flow: How to Minimize Distractions

One of the keys to productivity is minimizing distractions. Distractedness makes it difficult to stay on task, and to accomplish what you want to get done. If you want to get more done, it’s usually a good idea to identify your distractions, and then work to eliminate them.

What’s Distracting You?

Identifying your main sources of distraction is pretty straightforward. Take a look at what is pulling your attention away from your work. It might be social media, or a co-worker, or the fact you have kids in the house (if you work from home).

Pay attention to what you’re doing when you know you should┬ábe working. Another tactic is to buy and use a time-tracking app. There are apps that will watch what you do, and then provide you with an analysis of where you have been spending your time. At the very least, you can equip yourself with a pen and a piece of paper. Every time you do something, or change activities, write down what you are doing and the time. Keep track of when you stop and start. This draws your attention to the way you are using your time, and it can help you identify distractions.

Conditions that Lead to Distraction

It’s also worth noting that there are certain conditions that lead to distraction. You are more likely to succumb to distraction when you are tired or hungry. Your ability to concentrate makes a big difference in your productivity, especially in terms of how distracted you are likely to get.

Fatigue and hunger are both conditions that make it harder for you to exercise focus and discipline. If you are well-rested, just finished a meal, and relatively alert, it’s much easier to ignore the TV in the other room, or the urge to just check Facebook “real quick” (and find yourself there for an hour). Pay attention to your state of mind so that you can create conditions in which you are likely to overcome distractions and stay focused on what you want to accomplish.

Get Rid of Distractions

Of course, it also helps if you get rid of distractions as well. There are apps you can buy that block your Internet at certain times. If you have a problem with surfing the Internet, blocking your access on your computer can be helpful. If you are distracted by your kids, try to get work done while they are at school, or hire someone to watch them a couple times a week to ensure that you have time to focus.

Your workspace can also help you minimize distractions. Having a well-defined workspace can help you focus your attention toward your work. A specific area, setup, or room can be helpful. At the very least, make sure you are in an area where you don’t have to worry about people approaching you for conversation, and where you won’t be distracted by a TV or by some event.

I try to schedule phone calls either at the beginning of my work day, so I can get them over with, or toward the end of my work day, so that they don’t throw me off track. There are also other things I do to minimize distractions, from working when I feel focused, to sitting in a room and facing a wall (so what’s outside the window doesn’t distract me), to scheduling social media time so that it doesn’t become a distraction during the day.

What do you do to minimize distractions?

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at MirandaMarquit.com. Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.