In our last blog post, we went over how – even with all of the fancy productivity apps out there today – the most effective trick might just be good, old fashioned list-making. Technology has actually made us less productive in many instances, a big reason being: we are always connected!
There are far too many forms of communication today, it can feel impossible to fully disconnect and actually focus on the task at hand. Someone can get in touch with us through phone, email, text message, instant messenger, company communication systems, and an endless number of social media platforms. Sure, there are situations where this can be helpful, but more than anything it is a huge source of distraction.
Our society has also conditioned us to feel like we always need to be reachable. If we get a message, many of us feel an impulse to respond right away. But, of course, when we do that it means that we are taking our attention away from what we were previously focused on.
Feeling like we always have to be available is a big source of distraction – the other is our desire to multitask. Often, this gives us the false impression that we are actually being more productive. However, in reality, this means that we are taking more time to do less at lower quality.
This is a bad habit that many of us have picked up, and it is a difficult one to break. Like we said, when we hear a new message come in, it is our natural impulse to check it and respond right away. Luckily, there are some tips that can help you try to stop multitasking and to give your full attention to the work at hand.
Try removing yourself from any and all distractions. For example, you might want to schedule some time to work in a conference room or an empty office. Not only are colleagues more likely to stop by your office and interrupt you, but chances are it is filled with lots of other personal items that can also steal away your attention. Just make sure that you leave your cell phone behind as well. If this isn’t possible, consider putting up a “do not disturb” sign during certain hours of the workday.
Another easy trick to increase your productivity is to keep your workspace tidy and organized. You do not want to get distracted by personal items and you also do not want to spend unnecessary time searching for a certain file or contact. Sure, this might take a bit of time and energy upfront, but the time you save down the line will more than pay for itself.
This next tip might come across as a little counterintuitive. Taking breaks can actually help you stay on task and get more done in a shorter period of time. If you notice that you are just staring at your computer and not actually writing anything down, take this as your cue to get up and take a walk around the block. Your eyes, body, and brain will thank you.