Ever sit at your desk and wonder why you procrastinate? Then, just as you might be getting to the bottom of your thought process, you realize that thinking about procrastination is one of the reasons why you aren’t getting any work done.
The key to productivity is to spend your time dancing around distractions that are constantly thrown your way. One distraction, even the most minimal disruption, can be enough to send you down a procrastination wormhole of no return.
To avoid these distractions, you must be aware of them. Here are six things we do each day that are distracting.
1. Incoming emails
When was the last time you checked your emails? Was it right before you clicked on this article?
We check our emails way too often because we’ve created this myth that every email needs to be responded to immediately. This, of course, isn’t true. If something were truly that important, then we’d get a phone call instead of a message in our inbox.
Emails can wait. They are distractions that will always be there for us when we don’t want to focus on our work. Yes, they’re very dependable when we want to think about anything other than the task at hand.
Check emails less. Set a time at the end of the day to go through your inbox. But whatever you do, don’t check them before that time.
2. Overheard phone conversations
Have you ever found a quiet space to work, when all of a sudden someone sits down right next to you and starts talking on the phone?
No big deal, right? You can definitely ignore them and continue to focus on your work.
It turns out that overhearing one-sided phone calls distracts 82% of people. Not knowing how the person you’re listening to will respond is more captivating and makes you want to pay attention.
This can be frustrating because you found a nice quiet space, and you don’t want to give it up. But, if someone is on the phone then you should find another area that makes it easier for you to focus.
3. Social media
Just one minute. That’s all you said. I’ll check Facebook for a minute. How has an hour gone by?
Social media is the biggest distractor of all. It’s a consistent stream of new content that never ends. It doesn’t matter when you log onto Facebook or scroll through Twitter. There’s always something new that grabs you away from your work.
I know this isn’t an easy thing to avoid. After all, social media is very addicting. But you have to try. Put your phone on airplane mode. Turn it off completely. Put it in the break room if you have to. Download software that makes it impossible for you to access your social media accounts.
This is a distraction you’re going to want to go the extra mile to eliminate.
4. Listening to music
You’re supposed to put on headphones, play your favorite tunes, and drown out the noisy office. Right?
Not quite. Music can be distracting if you’re performing cognitively demanding tasks.
Are you working on something that demands critical thinking? Are you trying to solve a problem or figure out the best way to accomplish something? Then music is most likely distracting you and making it more difficult for you to complete your task.
Throw the headphones under your desk and start thinking.
5. Always saying yes
Right now you should be focused on eliminating distractions. However, it’s possible that you’re only creating more distractions for yourself.
Learn to say no. Meetings, tasks, and favors aren’t always beneficial to your productivity. Instead, they’re just distractions that are keeping you from concentrating on the work that’s really important.
Make sure you thoroughly evaluate any offer that comes your way. If it doesn’t help you achieve your goal or finish the task you should be working on, then it’s best if you turn it down. Giving yourself more responsibilities will only take you away from your work that matters the most.
6. New ideas
You’re trying to work on a task that’s due at the end of the day. When, suddenly, you get an idea for something exciting! This idea desperately grabs your focus and holds on tight.
Don’t let it.
This phenomenon is known as idea hopping, which is when your creativity kicks in and starts coming up with new ideas while you’re already working on something. This happens because you want to distract yourself so badly that you’re willing to think of something entirely new to convince yourself you aren’t spending your time wisely.
Take out a piece of paper. Write down the idea so you can go back to it later. Then forget about it. You have a task you have to complete and now is not the time to start something entirely new.
It’s Up to You
The distractions that are consuming your work life are most likely caused by you. Do everything you can to get rid of these distractions and focus on your work. You will quickly see how battling procrastination will positively impact your life.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.