10 WAYS TO REDUCE DISTRACTIONS
I love to write about ways to help you clear the clutter from your home, your time and your life in general and this post is all about clutter in the form of distraction! Clear the clutter that you can’t see with this post on 10 ways to reduce distractions and be more productive and effective with your time.
CLUTTER AND DISTRACTION
Like many, I’ve recently been juggling working from home whilst home-schooling my kids throughout the Coronavirus lockdown. The experience reinforced the difficulties of trying to do it all, and all at the same time!
I’ve been forced to multi-task more than I would usually like and feel comfortable with, but I’ve also noticed how easy it is to get distracted.
For me, distraction isn’t about getting lost in Facebook or too many tabs open on my screen. It’s been more about balancing helping my kids with their school work and trying to concentrate on my own work. I’m flitting from verbs and adjectives, breaking up fights on who took the last biscuit, to updating spreadsheets and making the figures balance for our family business. I’m sure many of you will have been in the same boat!
I’m normally pretty focused so distraction isn’t generally a problem for me (I have plenty of others that I’m working on though!). Yet, I understand how it can easily be a big problem for many, hence why I wanted to write this post and share some tips which you might find helpful.
Distraction is yet another form of clutter that can hinder instead of help us.
This post is all about the clutter of your distractions and 10 ways to reduce distractions, keep focused and be more efficient and effective with your time…
MULTI-TASKING AND DISTRACTIONS
We’re often led to believe that multi-tasking is a useful skill to master. And it is when you’re having to take on board lots of information, in a short space of time.
Yet, it’s difficult to really focus on any of these tasks in great detail so multi-tasking is only really of benefit to store information to process at a later date or for quick jobs that don’t require much detailed thought.
A study from the University of California Irvine found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task after getting distracted.
So multi-tasking can actually WASTE your time because it takes a while for your brain to get back to the task at hand.
So, if multi-tasking isn’t always the amazing superpower that we’re led to believe and distractions are the root of many time management problems, let’s look at a few ways you can reduce distractions around you. This list is good for the home and the work place!
10 WAYS TO REDUCE DISTRACTIONS
1. Have a plan: Have a plan for what you need to get done and choose just 3-5 things to include on that plan at any one time. It’s easier to focus when you have less to distract you. Read more about how to write an effective To Do List.
2. Turn off pings and buzzes: Turn off all notifications on your phone, computer and tablet. Only turn back on the ones that you really need. Read more about how to get rid of digital clutter.
3. Put your phone away: Leave your phone in a different room to where you’re working (or napping, or playing spaceships with your kids) so you can’t just quickly check it. Not quite out-of-sight, out-of-mind but nearly!
4. Invest in headphones: Work, read or study with noise-cancelling headphones (just make sure the kids are safe first).
5. Turn off the internet: The internet is a distracting place. Turn-off your Wi-Fi when your tasks don’t require internet connectivity so you don’t get tempted to search on Google or click that latest You Tube pop up in the corner of your screen.
6. Avoid social media: Don’t browse social media when working at all. If you can’t resist, designate “distraction time” and browse it for a couple of minutes or keep it for your lunch break. Read more about big time-wasters in your day.
7. Take regular breaks: Use them to move your body, get something to eat or drink, do something different and change the pace. When you’re on a break, use it to re-charge and when that break is over, get back into a focused mindset. Check out some helpful time management tips.
8. Create distraction-free time blocks: Create routines at home for you and your kids where you have quiet time as a set part of the day. The kids can use this for napping, reading, colouring or playing quietly whilst you can use the time to do things that are better done in peace and quiet.
9. Jot thoughts down in a notebook: Keep a notebook handy next to you. If something comes to mind, jot it down quickly to deal with later and get back to the task in hand.
10. Meditate daily: Practice daily meditation because it trains your mind to let go of thoughts which interrupt you so you can find it easier to centre (and stay centred) on just one thing.
A NOTE ABOUT CLUTTER
Clutter isn’t just the visible, physical stuff. It’s not just the piles of papers on your kitchen worktop, the toys strewn over the floor, the clothes jammed in your wardrobe.
Clutter takes many other forms such as too many thoughts swirling around your brain, too many junk emails lurking in your inbox or too many activities in your diary.
Here are some other posts about clearing the clutter in different forms:
A NOTE ABOUT YOUR TIME
The problems of multi-tasking and distractions aren’t just about clutter. They’re also about your time and how you manage it.
Your time is your most limited resource and what you do with it is key to simplifying your life and making space (and yes, time) for the things that you want to do, not just what you have to do.
For more tips on managing your time, being productive, efficient AND effective, read this post on 15 ways to be more productive and how to get more done in less time!