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Life Coach Tip: Struggling with Productivity? Remove the Distractions

Do you ever wonder why some people are so much more productive than other people? Do you struggle with your ability to get enough done? Do you have to-do lists that just remain to-do lists instead of becoming already done lists? Are you constantly in search of the magic secret of how to get things done?

For many of us, the answer to all of these questions is YES! Personally speaking, I had struggled with my own productivity battles for many years. I spent countless hours searching for the best and most effective productivity tools and techniques. Of all of the tips and information that I dug up, there were two things that I decided to focus on and see if it would make a significant difference in my results.

The first thing that I knew that I had to do was to COMMIT to becoming a more productive person. This is the most important step in any goal that you aim to achieve or in any lifestyle change that you want to make. Before anything else, you have to make a firm decision to make that change and commit to it at all costs. If you can truly do that, then half of the battle is already won. Always ask yourself if this goal is worth achieving or if this lifestyle change is worth making. If the answer is yes – commit to it!

The second thing that I decided to commit to doing was to remove all potential distractions when it was time to work and get things done. This alone has made a greater impact on my productivity that anything else that I’ve tried. By removing the distractions during my work time, I am now able to stay focused and as a result, get much more done in a shorter period of time. Here’s how I did it:

Tips for Removing and Managing Distractions-

1. Identify the little things that keep you from focusing on your work-I wrote out an honest list of everything that would potentially distract me while I was working. For me, those things included: Incoming emails, texts, instant messages, phone calls, random web searches, kid interruptions, and even playing my guitar.

2. Create a checklist of your typical distractions and keep that list in your work area-Keeping this list in front of you will serve as a reminder that you need to stay focused. Review your list each time you sit down to work and take the necessary actions to prevent those distractions before they come up. In my case, I would close my email, instant messenger, internet, turn off my phone, etc. By doing this, I was making a conscious decision to avoid the distractions. Eventually, taking these action steps became a habit and it is now just the way that I work, without even thinking about it.

3. Schedule your work times as well as your break times-This is a key component to staying focused. Schedule both work shifts and distraction breaks into your day. Depending on what I am working on, I will typically schedule myself for hour-long shifts. I will commit to “focused” work for about fifty minutes at a time, and then I’ll take a ten to fifteen minute break before starting again. During that break time, I will do things like check email, answer texts, etc. The key here is to put a time limit on your breaks and put off the non-urgent things that come up until after I’ve finished working for the day.

4. Get Others On Board-I discovered that it makes a big difference when those around you understand and respect your dedicated work time. If those people who might normally distract you understand the importance of not bothering you while you’re working, they will tend to leave you alone. This is an essential step, whether you work at home or in an office. In my case, my family knows that if my office door is shut, that I am not available for anything less than an emergency. They understand and respect my commitment to being productive and they know that I’ll be on a short break soon enough, at which point they can have my attention. Tip: If have a hard time convincing others to let you work, try making a bold “Do Not Disturb” sign and put it on your door or on your desk. They’ll get the hint!

5. Keep Practicing!
Becoming productive is a skill. All skills require practice and repetition in order to excel at them. Stay with it at all costs. If you find yourself slipping and easily becoming distracted, re-focus on your commitment and your strategy and get back to work. Eventually, it will become easier and easier to stay focused.

What strategies do you use to stay focused on your work? What do you do when you notice that you’re focusing more on your distractions than on the tasks that matter most? What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you? As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts with me and with our readers. Your input might just help somebody else to move forward in their life. We’re all in this together!

Life Coach Tip: Struggling with Productivity? Remove the Distractions

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