Would you like to be more productive and get more done in less time? One of the ways is to increase your discipline, but an even faster way to do it is to remove distractions.
#1: Keep a List of Distractions.
The first tip is to keep a list of distractions.
Divvy that list up at the end of your day. If it's not important, move it down the road into a future day that week to get done.
#2: Limit Your Phone Screen Time.
Most smart phones these days have a feature under the settings where you can limit your screen time on apps like social media. So if you don't have the discipline to avoid that little urge to check social media or to start a conversation that's not really moving the needle, go into your phone settings and limit your screen time.
#3: Check Your Emails and Calls at a Certain Time.
The third tip is to check your emails, phone calls and voicemails at a certain time. Limit it to maybe two or three times a day, instead of always responding to everything in three seconds. You’ll get distracted because the whole idea of multitasking is a complete myth. You can't focus on more than one thing at once. Implement a time block for emails and calls.
#4: Ask People Not to Interrupt You.
Ask people not to interrupt you during work. When it comes to family members, like a spouse or children, tell them that unless it’s an emergency, avoid phone calls during the workday.
#5: Turn Off Notifications for Your Phone and Computer.
Turn off your notifications on your phone and computer. Years ago, I don't remember what app it was, but it would constantly ping me when I was working, and I got emails and text messages coming in all day. I turned off these notifications.
#6: Block Out Human Distractions.
I work in an open office with coworkers all around me, so I constantly use my headphones. That way, if they're chatting, I don't mind; I can focus on my work. If you're at a coffee shop or an office, shut your door if you have one, or put your headphones on. Whatever you can do to put yourself in the zone and in that workflow so you can get more done is going to help you be more productive.
#7: Do Your Most Difficult Work First.
Whatever takes the most discipline for you, put that at the front of your day. Humans are like a phone battery; throughout the day, the more we use our brain power, the lower the battery gets. It's harder to make big decisions and to focus and get stuff done and not procrastinate as we get tired.
#8: Avoid Busy Work.
Another tip is to avoid busy work. As humans, we want to get away from whatever pains us. That said, we'll often resort to busy work that feels urgent or important, but really isn't. That's another reason to keep a list of distractions or things that pop up and keep you from tackling the bigger fish.
#9: Take Care of Errands on the Weekends.
The weekend is the best time to go get coffee and go to Home Depot or do the “Honey Do” that you've been wanting to do. I stopped doing errands in the middle of my workday, unless it's over lunch and super important. This has really helped my productivity, because it was such an easy cop-out to spend time running errands when I could have been working.
#10 Avoid Unimportant Tasks.
Another thing is not to text, call or use social media for unimportant tasks throughout the workday. Maybe you want call your kids back or call a friend or check social media and interact with everyone who's posting awesome pictures of their summer vacation. Save those for a time block at the end of the day because they're so easy to just derail you, get you off track. And the next thing you know, you just blew three hours on social media liking pictures you don't even care about.
#11: Put Your Phone Away at Home.
My final tip is to put your phone down when you get home or when you're with a spouse. If you're going to be spending time with your loved ones, be present. Turn the phone off, go put it on the charger and focus on your family time. If you go out to a restaurant, don't be on there texting or looking at social media. Spend that quality time with your family.
It will allow your brain to reboot. It'll let you rest and recharge, and you're going to feel rejuvenated if you focus on loved ones versus focusing on your phone. So put the phone down, have more quality time and recharge those batteries to be productive at work tomorrow.