That moment when you finally sit down to focus on this task you have been wanting to do for a while. You start working on it and suddenly – beep beep – a message on Whatsapp. Oh, this is such a cool link to a post on Facebook! And what have my friends been up to lately? Maybe I should check it out while having a coffee. And suddenly, all that good mojo is gone and your tasks keeps being unfinished. Let me help you to beat distraction and get this done!
1. Set a time period and solely for that task
Give yourself a realistic amount of time that you manage to focus on the task. A realistic period is between 1 – 1.5 hours. Log out of all your email and social media accounts and turn your phone on silent. Within this period, do not get distracted by these things. Only when your alarm goes off, you can follow up on all these other activities.
2. Only check your email and social media at certain times
Working a lot with social media platforms, I found myself constantly being on Instagram, WeChat, Facebook and after finishing the tasks I actually had to do, I got distracted by all those posts I wanted to read. What I do now is that I check into all my accounts twice: in the morning and in the evening, and not in between tasks. Furthermore, I also apply this system for my emails. I used to work on a task and suddenly an email popped up and I got distracted because I wanted to react immediately. This new way of checking twice a day works much better for me. And I made sure that everyone who works with me knows that if it is really urgent, they need to call me.
3. Make your work place a peaceful place
Whether you work at an office or at home, turn your work place into a place that makes you feel at peace. For me, it is pot plants and pictures to have something nice to look at. It immediately helps me to stay focussed. If your office has an open concept, use noise-cancelling phones or ear plugs for tasks on which you need to be 100% concentrated. What I also do is book the small meeting rooms or use the phone areas if I need to be on my own and cannot focus on my desk because of the office noise.
4. Use rewards
Every day, I have a small reward for myself if I finish certain tasks. For example, if I aim to finish a task in the morning, I have a nice lunch with a colleague or friend lined up. It not only gives you a deadline but also something nice to look forward to.
5. Make lists
I mentioned this in several posts already, making lists really helps me to focus. I have the most important tasks in column one, then priority number 2 in the second column and so on. After I finish a task, I cross it out and move on. This helps me a lot to stay focussed on the tasks that really matter and not getting stuck with small issues.
6. Change or have a break if you are stuck
Sometimes it just does not work. You need to focus on something but you cannot progress for some reason. Take a break or do a small task that you can finish easily that gives you a feeling of success. Then go back to the task and try again.