Distractions cost you money every day. Each time your phone bings, rings, or buzzes and you check it you’re losing money. Each time you check your email that isn’t schedule, you’re losing money. These things are all distractions that keep you from focusing on the task at hand. One study showed that you can take 25 minutes after being distracted to return to your original task. And, if you try to multitask, you lose, on average, 10 IQ points.
How do you combat distractions? Here are three tips for combating distractions:
1. Decide you don’t have to allow yourself to be on top of everything all the time. Turn off the notifications on your phone or have them all silenced except for the most critical ones. For example, I don’t get text message notifications anymore except from my husband. The default tone for text messages is silence. In my husband’s contact, I have a special tone for text messages.
2. Schedule times to check email. If you absolutely need people to reach you, setup an out of office message that responds to incoming emails letting senders know that you check your email at certain times each day. If the message is urgent they can call you on your office, cell, or other number where you can be reached.
3. Block out time in the day to work on your high priority projects – 90 minutes is a good time to target. When you’re working in these blocks, don’t answer your phone, check email, text messages, facebook, twitter, the news – anything!
These are just three ways to combat distractions. You can start with these then find other ways to protect your focus and minimize distractions in your life.
Tip of the Month: June 2014
Penny L. Wilson, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD