You’re at the office, clocked in and ready with your morning coffee. Before you know it, five o’clock has rolled around and you can’t help but wonder where the time went. What was supposed to be a productive day flew by with little to show for it. Often, the noise that surrounds us can derail our focus before we even realize it.
As a result, we lose track of our goals, projects take longer to complete, and it gets harder to move forward. The good news is that there are solutions! Check out the following tips to get rid of those distractions keeping you from progressing:
1) Get rid of the clutter:
Are you really going to work on that budget analysis right now? If not, you’re probably not going to touch that stack of books anytime soon. Though we might think having these things out in the open will serve as a reminder to get them done, they may actually be hindering your productivity. There may be items on your desk that get you visually overwhelmed and though you might be focusing your eyesight on a specific area, something will still draw your attention. Visual distractions can be reduced by clearing your desk, your walls, and your home of unnecessary possessions. Cleaning up at the end of each day helps you remove clutter and improves your focus.
Alright, so you’ve gotten rid of your desk clutter so we’re all set, right? Not quite yet. Organizing your mind means organizing everything! Desktop icons, backgrounds, programs, apps, along with other digital distractions get in the way of getting your work done. Organize your files into the fewest possible folders and keep your computer desktop as clean as your actual desk.
2) Be smart about your e-mail notifications
We’ve all wasted time focusing on that unimportant email that somehow ends up setting us back in our whole day . You figure you’ll stay on top of everything by enabling email notifications on your desktop and next thing you know, your whole day is spent dismissing notifications – or worse – shopping that “ONE DAY ONLY exclusive sale” that ends in 4 hours, hurry before you miss out! Don’t let email takeover your life. Minimize the distractions by:
- Turning off automatic email notifications for everyone and allowing them ONLY for important contacts that you can’t afford to miss
- Checking your email at specific times throughout the day
- Having less than two email accounts
- Unsubscribing from advertisements and newsletters that are no longer of value to you
3) Schedule phone calls
How many days have slipped out of your hands because you were bombarded with phone calls? Yes, you’re working but by constantly answering your phone, you’re taking time away from crossing out tasks on your to-do list. Avoid taking every call you receive as it comes and instead, establish a specific time each day to return calls and messages.
4) Organize your environment:
We mentioned clearing your desk of clutter but if you want to take it one step further after you’ve done this, organize your entire environment! You’re only leaving a few things on your desk at this point, so make the most of them. Organize everything in a way that will improve your productivity. For example:
- Position important documents or supplies within your reach
- Label your shelves
- Use folders for different articles and files instead of having them loose in your drawers
- Store any books or magazines in a box or a drawer
- Sort your mail by topic or sender
Investing a little effort into organizing your workstation will save you time in the long run. The more organized your desk is, the less time you’ll spend shuffling through piles of paperwork and the more time you’ll have to actually progress in your career!