I sat down at the computer to write a blog post. I had an hour to work before my youngest woke up from his nap and I had a series of thoughts I needed to write down. When I opened my computer I had 2 software programs that wanted to check for updates. I exited them before they had a chance to start their auto-check. The first thing to come up on my browser is my email and of course, the 10 new emails drew me in- I needed to respond to a client, a friend had emailed, multiple emails were in my promotion folder, I didn’t even bother looking over those. Before I could click over to my blog, I heard a facebook chime alerting me that someone had messaged me. It wasn’t long before I realized I only had 20 minutes left to get that post written out.
Does that sound familiar?
We all use media throughout the day, and little split-second annoyances are something we often procrastinate dealing with because we have a goal in mind when we’re online: anything from checking our bank balance to emailing family to catching up on work email.
How many times have you sat down to accomplish something, and end up spending 45 minutes at the computer, forgetting to get that one thing accomplished?
By taking a few minutes to take care of these things today, you’ll eliminate dozens of distractions every day, giving you more focus and patience for what really needs to get done.
4 quick things to eliminate electronic distractions:
- Eliminate Unnecessary Scans and Updates. Antivirus- I’m looking at you. Uninstall it so you don’t have it popping up and interrupting you anymore. (NOTE: You do need some antivirus to protect your computer. But if you have installed something better, the older programs need to be removed.)
- Eliminate Never-ending Sales Emails. Go into your promotions folder and unsubscribe. And while you’re there, do a quick search for that address and then delete all the emails from them, clearing them out of your inbox for good. Unroll.me is very helpful in unsubscribing from many emails at once.
- Eliminate Noisy Notifications on Your Phone. Some people are even turning off notifications for texts, and certainly emails. The average person checks their phone 50-70 times a day, the majority of things can be dealt with then. If you are worried about missing something important, tell those people to call you (rather than text or email) and when the phone rings, you can take care of it. Not having your train of thought interrupted by an alert for email, instagram, or texts allows you to be more productive.
- Eliminate Sleep-Stealing Blue Light. So many of us catch up on email or check social media on our phones or computer right before bed. For the iPhone user,go into Settings, Display and Brightness, you can select Night Shift and the hours you want and it will turn your screen backlighting from blue light to orange light. For android users there are apps like f.lux, which adapts your screen color, dimming and warming it towards the evening and brightening it up for day use. This will allow you to still read on your tablet without the harmful effects of blue light.
It’s easy to brush things aside that “we’ll deal with later” and when does later ever come? For most people: never. Life seems too busy to take time out and deal with these little annoyances. But these little annoyances are not only taking minutes from you each day, they are distracting your mind and stealing your focus.
How much writing would you get done if you only had a screen and keyboard? No options of notifications or updates?
How much easier would it be to balance your bank statement without a program popping up or chime begging you to see what someone said?
Take some little steps to simplify your life today and you’ll find that your focus will be more complete in the task at hand, you’ll get it done faster and you’ll have more free time to spend doing something you enjoy. And if what you enjoy is checking facebook updates- well, then do it without a to-do list in the back of your mind. 😉
More productivity hacks: