How often my friends, are you distracted? Stop laughing – I’m serious. If you’re at all like me, you get distracted several times a day. Hopefully not like that dog in the children’s movie UP –SQUIRREL, but you know what I’m talking about. It might start with the need for an extra cup of coffee and the phone rings. Maybe you decide to browse the internet with said cup of coffee. Or your spouse, kid, coworker, etc. interrupt you. Either way, it matters not what you do, but how you regain your focus and get your work done. Learning how to minimize distraction can increase your output, especially if you’re a writer, like me. There’s more motivation if you see your daily goals being reached with less stress and interruption.
Let’s look at some common distractors. First – e-mail. Now I know, we all need to check and see if we got that job, if the school sent out vital PTO information, or if your cousin’s uncle’s friend from 20 years ago replied to your friend request on social media. Truthfully, we can be distracted by email and social media ALL DAY. Trust me, I’ve been there. Minimize this. Schedule specific times for e-mail and then let it go. Pretend you’re away from all technological devices, and the e-mail will have to wait. I personally check and respond to e-mails early in the morning (with that first cup of morning beans☕), directly after carpool, since now it’s a Godlier hour of the day, and then I leave off until late in the afternoon. This leaves me loads of time for writing and my classes. If you e-mail me between 4pm-8pm – be forewarned – I may not respond until the insomnia kicks in sometime in the wee hours of the night. If it’s urgent – you know you’re not reaching out to me through my inbox.
Another big distraction is disorganization. Now I am organized in my disorganization, but I couldn’t explain that to you. It is however essential to me that my workspace be clutter free. I need space to think, to spread out my laptop, iPad, and my planner. Oh, and space for my coffee cup. So clear your workspace. You wouldn’t think of baking cookies on a messy kitchen counter, so don’t work that way on the job.
My biggest distraction, other people. Sometimes working from home is great, but other people are loud and cannot respect your working need for silence. They inevitably neglect your personal workspace, and if you work in the same room, you’re asking for a disaster. So how do you solve this? If you’re in an office – close the door. At home, use headphones. Your favorite tunes can be inspiring and they keep the distraction to a minimum. Of course, if you’re a karaoke fiend – just use noise blocking headphones.
OK, onto the last personal distractor. Exhaustion. Being well rested is super important to productivity. When I’m lagging…well, there’s not enough coffee to make humor or prose happen. My answer, since I have insomnia issues, I take a mini nap around 2pm. It really helps. I feel refreshed and manage a couple of hours of really decent work. Also important, especially after a nap – hydrate. It helps you stay focused and alert. Keep the snacking to minimum, heavy diets make you feel tired and mind mushy. Healthy snacks, hydration and some shut eye. Yup, minimizing distractibility.
I suggest, my lovelies, that you take a day to track your habits. Take notes, you’ll be able to see where and when your biggest distractions occur, and then you can learn (with my tips) how to obliterate them. Oh, and by the way, SQUIRREL!
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕