Here’s how to keep distractions at bay

working distraction

Whenever you search online for ways to increase productivity at work, you get millions of results. That’s because it’s the core issue for leaders and managers worldwide.

It doesn’t help that a lot the writers covering the topic seem to repeat the same generic advice. So, we’ll take a different approach and view productivity from the perspective of performance and engagement. Here are the 7 ways to increase productivity at work.

You cannot multitask

According to neuroscientist and MIT professor, Earl Miller’s report named “Multitasking. Why Your Brain Can’t Do It and What You Should Do About It“, people can’t multitask very well and whoever believes they can “are deluding themselves”. His research has shown that our brain is highly capable at tricking itself into believing what it wants.

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Also, according to Miller, people shift their focus at tremendous speed from one task to another but it doesn’t mean that they pay attention to multiple things at the same time. He also shows that similar tasks which involve using the same skill, such as communication, compete at sharing the same portion of the brain. So, for example, because of task interference and conflict between writing an email and talking on the phone, you can’t properly focus on either at the same time.

Split long-term goals into independent goals

Long-term goals often seem overwhelming and leads to fatigue and risk of quitting or being proactive. So, by breaking them down into smaller and independent goals, you can bypass that risk and feel a sense of achievement.

As underlined by Ryder Caroll who is a best-selling author and creator of the Bullet Journal, when you divide your long-term goal into Sprints rather than phases you get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction which motivates you to keep going.

Olenski’s 2-Minute Rule

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the 2-minute rule to take advantage of short open-windows of time.

So, whenever you have free time and you identify a task which you can get done in less than 2-minutes you should do it on the spot. Olenski emphasizes that it will take less time than reverting to it later. Also, thanks to this rule he’s become one of the top online content strategists.

Draft your To-Do list the night before

Your to-do list can make or break your productivity for the day, it keeps you organized and helps you focus. Whenever you’ve checked off one of the items on your list you immediately feel satisfaction for the accomplishment.

However, it’s important that you prepare your next day to do list on the night before so you don’t waste precious time at the beginning of your workday. You can also increase your productivity by simply talking through your to-do-list with someone. According to Leo Wildrich, author of What Multitasking Does to Your Brain, this technique forces you to think about each task and you’ll feel like you have done half the work already.

Turn off any distractions

Your phone can easily become your number one productivity killer. It only takes one second to shift your attention when your phone lights up notifications from social media or WhatsApp. It’s best to completely shut off your phone and any email notifications so you can maintain 100% focus on the task which you’re working on.

Nobody can resist checking an email or text notification, so by switching your phone off you eliminate the risk of being interrupted. It also helps you remain proactive on your work rather than reactive to external stimuli.

Get the right office tools

Automation is the name of the game these days and having the proper tools in your office helps you stop wasting time. Whenever small tasks can be done with office equipment, your best approach is to purchase the right tools. But, before you buy office equipment make a comparison between brands which have a good reputation. Look for increased reliability, high levels of efficiency and low maintenance costs. After-sales support is also important to ensure that your business runs smoothly.

A positive attitude does wonders for productivity

According to studies carried out at the University of Warwick, happy employees have a 12 per cent higher productivity level than those who aren’t. Also the Maastricht University studied the link between performance and optimism to discover that in call centres, optimists had a higher level of sales.

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So, negative and stressful conditions at work will only yield in low productivity. When employees work under constant pressure they’re less engaged and they lose motivation. But, if you show appreciation and gratitude for their achievements, they’ll do their best at work.

Image Credit: William Iven on Unsplash

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