Are you the type of person that's easily distracted? I am. I'm not afraid to admit it but up until yesterday, I realized that I live like I'm not easily distracted at all. Well I multitasked a lot and with a great abundance of keyboard shortcuts that I picked up from LifeHacker, I'm able to check my twitter, my ten email accounts, LinkedIn account, blogs I'm following and my facebook (which I recently deleted) on a whim. To make matters worse, my overly developed heightened senses had caused me to hear conversations at the workplace from conversations, to gossip, to news and even more distractions.
Leo Babauta in his book focus said that "We live in an age of Distraction" and I agree. Have you noticed how in books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and a whole lot of other financial success books, talk about how easy it is to be financially successful by being productive and imitating how successful people operate. I believe it too. What I'd like to add, however, it that if we can block off distractions and stay focused on what you're trying to achieve you'll get it done.
I guess you're probobly aware that news is bad for you and I avoid it like the plague. The thing is, even if you do avoid the news, major current events are going to reach you. Even if something in the news isn't important people are going to talk about it and you'll find out from somebody whether you like it or not.
So people at work are starting to talk about a "major not so encouraging news that everybody's been talking about which usually lasts for a couple of weeks that you'll hear over and over again" which I don't like. I decided to put my headphones on and loaded up Rainymood to block out their conversation. I copied email to a to do text file and shut off my work email then I worked on the tasks one by one. It was really a productive day. I know this might sound like an exaggeration but it really does feel like I completed a week's task in a day. I don't know for sure and I don't have a way to measure it at the moment but it really does feel great to complete most of my "Most Important Tasks" for the week.
A new client from a Japanese company bragged that in their work culture, they work during work hours and play after the work hours. I agree, and I bet that if everybody who would like to be effective follows that principle they'l get the important things done.
Here are my suggestions:
- Use a few tools and use simple tools -now only use a text file for my notes and to do lists.
- Headphones if you have to - sometimes you get distracted at work that's okay. Load up music that makes you productive. I use Rainy Mood and Simply Noise as ambient sounds since it blocks off distracting stuff and sorts of sharpen my focus. Feel free to try it.
- Single Task - one task at a time, most important things first, do it at your own pace but start as soon as possible .(more on why I single task)
- Rest the third time you feel like resting or after you've completed an important task - simply put, pause if you have to then get back to the next one.
- Use a log for your actions -twitter is addictive because you can log stuff. this is a log for work. Just put up a text file and "tweet"what you're doing and what you've completed. Use a timestamp. If you're using windows it's f5 or check out this Lifehacker post.
- Start earlier play earlier - People say "play hard party hard" I say finish work earlier so you can play around earlier because its easier to play as much as you like as soon as work is out of the way and starting early is a better advantage than speed anyways so just try it.
I'm tempted to post something like this at work tell me what you think.
Kevin can't work without blinders. But kicks ass at being productive with them.
Kevin uses a clean desk and Head phones as blinders.
Headphones=Kevin is working
Phone=Kevin is calling a client or talking to a client
No headphones= Kevin is not working he is just browsing the internet.
Maybe I did a weeks work in a day or maybe it took me a week to work on things that most people can finish in a day. The point is when you try it you'll be more productive so stop reading this post, put your blinders on and get back to work already.