Eliminating Distractions for a Happier, More Productive Life
The advent of the internet and cellular technology has connected us all. Communication can be instantaneous among coworkers, clients, and loved ones. The phrase “It’s a small world” is becoming truer by the day.
Smartphones, instant messenger, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, e-mail, text messages…the ways in which we can connect are endless. The efficiencies it has created are impressive. No longer do we have to physically hold meetings with our teams. Forget flying across the country to wine and dine a client…just arrange for a Facetime video chat to get it done.
However, all of this connectedness can have a dangerous effect on your own productivity. Why? We’ve created a culture that accepts constant distraction. Here is the behavior we all tend to have:
- Our cell phones are always on our person, and always on. We answer or call back immediately after checking voicemail. We respond to texts the second they come in.
- Our e-mail inboxes are always open. We have notifications that let us know when another message trickles in. We jump on new messages as if they are more urgent than the last.
- Our coworkers can reach us on instant messenger all day. Google Talk is the messenger of choice with the HUMAN Team, and it will bombard you with dings and popups by default unless you disable them.
Productivity experts agree that in order to achieve maximum results you need to dedicate at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted time on each task.
90 minutes. Let’s be honest with ourselves: when’s the last time we were able to focus on something and get absorbed in it for 90 minutes? It sounds impossible but I highly recommend following these tips from Eben Pagan, one of the foremost experts on personal development and productivity:
- Designate certain blocks of time each day to answer calls and respond to emails. You will train people to know that you aren’t available 24/7 instantly, and that you respond in a timely manner at certain blocks of time each day.
- During all other times throughout the day schedule 90 minute blocks to focus on one project or task at a time. Buy a digital timer and set it for 90 minutes. Don’t worry about anything else until the timer goes off.
- Turn off your cellphone.
- Sign out of Instant Chat.
- Close out of your e-mail.
Everybody thinks their problem is urgent, and therefore must instantly become your problem. Respecting your own time will cause others to respect your time in return. Check out this video to hear it straight from the man who has pioneered a lot of practical habits for being productive in our modern world: