19 Tips for Battling Distraction

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Want to efficiently move through your day and check things off your task list? Don’t depend on will power to battle distraction. We will all lose the battle of will. The trick is to put ourselves in the position to not encounter potential distractions. Distractions are more easily avoided when we have a plan for the day, week, month, year… Any success comes with the focusing on and execution of your core tasks. Here’s a list of tips to get you on your way:

  1. Begin your day by writing down your tasks. Try to list them in the order of importance. Fight the urge to knock out the easy ones first. Start with the tough stuff. Completion of hard tasks gives you a rush that will carry through the rest of your day.
  1. If you work from home, take all your snacks for a work session to your desk at one time. So much time is wasted getting up from your desk to go to the kitchen.
  1. If you work in an office with others, respectfully communicate with your team members that you’re in “do not disturb” mode for a while. REWORK by Jason Fried and David Hansson covers this topic well.
  1. Don’t have more than 3 tabs open in your browser.
  1. Try going to a two-computer monitor set up so that you can have more space for organizing and navigating your computer workspace. A cluttered desktop breeds distraction.
  1. Don’t work within a browser where one of the tabs is your email and/or chat client (of course unless your job involves constant communication with team members and/or clients – i.e. help desk).
  1. You don’t have to pick up every phone call. Silent mode is your friend. The same goes for text messages.
  1. Only hold meetings if they’re totally necessary. Unless they are really inspirational, keep the meetings as short as possible. Meetings are total flow killers.
  1. Read and research the subject of time management during down time. Here’s an inspirational video of Professor Randy Pausch (RIP) on time management.
  1. Some people work well to music. I work well to only certain types of music. For instance, my work music consists of Radiohead (because of the droning nature of their music… my favorite album to work to is Kid A) and instrumental albums like J. Dilla’s Donuts.
  1. If you have a disagreement with a family member or friend, try your best to resolve the issue before you start working. It’s hard to keep our minds off unresolved conflict.
  2. Keep your mind off your competition. Do you!
  1. Keep the television off!
  1. If it’s hard for you to break away from Twitter, Google+ and Facebook (doing non-work) don’t even visit the sites.
  1. If the day is Friday, make yourself believe that it’s not. Don’t mail it in. End the work week strongly.
  1. Go to sleep. It’s easier to get distracted if you’re tired. When sleepy, our brain only has enough energy for tasks that don’t take heavy thinking and creativity. Here’s some interesting research on the power of naps.
  1. Don’t go on long stretches without eating. The brain and body needs fuel.
  1. Help create and maintain a work culture that respects each other’s time.
  1. Make sure your work doesn’t feel like work. Also, make sure what you’re doing is part of your master plan. It’s easier to focus on things we enjoy. Agree?

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About the Author

Chris Craft is a Christian, husband, father, and the author of The Foundation: Branding for Successful Real Estate Professionals and O.P.E.N. Routine: Four Components to Personal Branding Excellence. As the founder of content creation agency Nao Media, Chris helps churches and businesses produce written content and have better conversations with their members and stakeholders. Chris is also the host of The Chris Craft Show, which helps its listeners renew their mind with edifying stories and insights.