In a Harvard Business Review article, they figured that on average an employee gets interrupted at work about 50 to 60 times a day. Most of those interruptions are deemed unnecessary and have zero value.
In our advanced world, there are constant notifications whether it be instant messaging, video calling, Tik-Tok, online shopping, dating apps, and more. Distractions consume our day and most of the time is disruptive and pull us off task and focus.
In this blog, let’s figure out together how we can manage and hopefully completely eliminate distractions while working.
Classify the things you need to do into quadrants.
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book by Stephen Covey, he defined the Time Matrix as an effective way to manage your time. The four quadrants of time are: Q1: Necessity (Urgent & Important) – all of the things that you need complete under a deadline, crises, pressing problems, unforeseen events; Q2: Effectiveness (Not Important & Urgent) – where you do practice work, creative thinking, planning, relationship building, recreation; Q3: Distraction (Urgent & Not Important) – Irrelevant meetings, unnecessary reports, other people’s minor issues, unimportant emails, calls, etc.; Q4: Waste (Not Urgent & Not Important) – Excessive relaxation, gaming, mindless online browsing, gossip.
If you are able to qualify your tasks accordingly into these quadrants, you will be able to manage your time better, focus your attention and take charge of your day.
Does multitasking ever really work?
Understanding the dangers of multitasking will eventually help you to make more mindful decisions about whether you should be doing one. As you will be performing different tasks at the same time, it puts you in a default work mode where your brain is busy planning, analyzing, and working. But you still have to direct your focus to the task at hand. When distractions play, it could take you a much longer time to regain that focus. Try to complete similar small tasks first and then focus your attention on the bigger ones. You’ll notice that you’re ticking off items in your to-do list.
Pause. Be mindful of yourself and what triggers you.
If you feel that you cannot focus and distractions consume you. Take a step back. Pause. Breathe. Just by being aware of your surroundings, you will realize what really triggers you give in to distractions. Try to stay quiet for a bit, detach yourself from your devices, and collect your thoughts. Through self-awareness, you will be able to determine the factors that distract you and the “why”.
Be the bigger version of yourself and establish boundaries
When you have collected and gathered your thoughts, you now know what distractions consume you, you can then establish boundaries with yourself and colleagues, on which tasks you should entertain first at your own time. When you feel overwhelmed, rely on your values and choose how you want to be – will you succumb or rise above and move forward?
If your core value is around being collaborative, concentrate on that and work on ways on how you will be able to be productive.
Overall, distractions are everywhere and you will need to make choices and develop habits to combat them. There is no secret formula that will work in patterns from one person to another.
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