There are many distractions in the workplace these days; more so than ever before. With e-mail, text messages, instant messenger, and Twitter, it’s hard to get any real work done without constantly checking in on these things.
Productivity experts are now saying that to be truly productive, you need to go offline for at least one hour each business day and focus your efforts entirely on the task you’re paid to do. For us, that could be writing blog posts, setting up affiliate campaigns, designing landing pages, etc. Some find it hard to not check their e-mail every 5 minutes, but that’s something you need to get used to not doing obsessively.
If you have multiple computers, it’s best to turn one of them off and use the other strictly for work. If not, unplug your Internet connection and draft what you need to work on in a text document first.
According to colleagues I spoke to before writing this post, most of them said they find distractions more in their mobile phones, such as on their BlackBerry or iPhone, rather than other Internet applications. It pretty much sums up the first line of this post, with e-mails, texts, Twitter, etc. Now you can add phone calls to that list.
For me, the most productive days of the week are Monday and Tuesday. I find I can get most of the work I need to for the week in those two days. By Wednesday, I’m already thinking about the weekend. The odd time, I’ll work on either a Friday or Saturday night, too. The reason being is everyone else is out doing stuff, like seeing a movie, or going to the bar, so there are no distractions around. E-mails on the weekend are also very minimal, so there’s no need to rush to return a reply, as most people wouldn’t expect you to anyway on a weekend.
Returning to the Distractions
Once you’ve given yourself a good, solid hour of productivity each day, ease back into the e-mails and other online obligations you have slowly. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the 20+ new e-mails in your inbox, or the direct messages on Twitter. Part of unplugging in the first place is to sit back and focus on what’s really important. The secondary responsibilities likely aren’t as important as your real job at hand. Not that e-mails and phone calls aren’t important, but you can soon find yourself drowned in distractions again if you jump back in head first.
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