How to Deal with Digital Distraction and Stay Productive
Originally meant to bring people closer and simplify communication, technology has become exceedingly successful at accomplishing quite the opposite.
Just a glance at any café, and there’s the microcosm of our global interpersonal dynamics – detached people staring at phones, or typing away on laptops, most of them sitting with someone doing exactly the same. This urge has transferred to our work environments, where social media like Facebook or Instagram are just a click away from time-wasting scrolling and that familiar rampage of opening too many tabs of videos and articles we simply must see.
Since technology is the evil hamster wheel of our time, we might as well use it to overcome our modern weaknesses, shorten the time we spend overly-attached to it, and move on to doing what really matters at any given moment.
How many items in your office have a screen or make noise? How many do you really need to do work? If there’s a TV in your office, unplug, move the remote to a different room, and preferably turn away from the screen.
If turning off the phone isn’t an option, then using the silent mode and turning off unnecessary notifications is a good alternative. The same goes for your computer and other gadgets.
The time spent on social media has increased to consume over 30% of the overall time we spend online. Having apps on almost every device, we make ourselves available around the clock for no apparent reason.
While the Internet is a well of useful information, and likely an integral part of any business, a simple method of restricting the use of social media during work hours is by logging out on every device.
In addition, if you have a laptop or a phone you use only for work, all the more reason to delete the app completely. Your profiles are no longer just one click away and we are less likely to get trapped into the endless loop of distractions.
The same goes for apps like Viber, WhatsApp or Skype. Turn them off and log out to make better use of your time, which brings us to the next key step.
Numerous personal and business-related appointments can make even the best of us dizzy. Using a schedule maker is meant to prevent conflicts and overlaps, and simplify your time management. Taking your mind off the calendar is in itself a time-saver, so you can fully focus on the task at hand.
In fact, planning ahead can easily be transferred to your social media and other irrelevant online activities. Forming a habit of limited daily access to sites that will not contribute to productivity is an instant discipline-builder. Set aside designated time segments for responding to emails, messages and work-free communication.
More often than not people feel that juggling several streams of communication while casually reading an article and still getting some work done is a realistic possibility. However, multitasking is primarily a waste of time and mental capacity when we divide that time between work and play. Partial procrastination shouldn’t be considered multitasking in the first place.
While completing several smaller tasks at the same time is a valued skill in the workplace, dividing attention to unimportant distractions can only diminish your ability to excel. When there’s an important decision to be made or a particularly difficult budget segment to consider, putting the rest of the world on stand-by is essential.
Not everyone enjoys music or chatter during work, but there are those who actually perform better when they are not surrounded by complete silence as it makes them uncomfortable.
Tuning out for the former means truly avoiding having any noise around them, while the latter would gladly use a “do not disturb” sign on the door, as well as noise-cancelling headphones to have some background music of their choice.
Careful selection of mild melodies or sounds of nature can improve focus and clarity of thinking, but only if you don’t spend the next hour picking out the right songs and getting lost in the music afterwards.
As soon as your start your digital detox, your work performance will skyrocket, and you’ll reap all the rewards of decluttering your life of unnecessary distractions.
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