There are so many parasitic problems in life today and those parasites drain people of their ability to perform everywhere. In my opinion, distractions are the biggest drain to productivity. When I was first entering the work force, I didn’t have computers, cell phones, access to everyone I know and people I don’t know at the touch of a finger. In essence, I could only be distracted by my immediate environment and by whatever was going on in my head. I had the ability and the expectation that I would go to work for 8 or more hours, work hard, and return home before I had to check in with someone who would expect me to share what my experiences were for that time I was gone. While I was working, I produced what was expected of me so I could keep my job and I only had to interact with fellow employees who worked in my department.
Fast forward to today and we have the world at our fingertips and our schedules in the hands of anyone with a smart phone, computer or email address. Be honest, you know this has happened to you. You had a plan of the tasks you needed to accomplish for the day, showed up at work, opened your email and Bam you were off to the races responding to all the emails you got while you were at home. Or worse than that, you have your smart phone connected to your work email so you can respond to work related crisis while you are supposed to be at home relaxing and enjoying your time with your family. The reason we are not getting our work done or accomplished is that we are allowing distractions and people to insert themselves into our schedules and we aren’t blocking out time to respond to their requests at a time that we chose. These distractions are like parasites that attach themselves to our life and suck everything that is good out of us until we are overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it. It’s time to take control of the distractions and kill the parasites that are draining us of our ability to get the job done.
Here are some steps you can take to take back control.
- Block out time in your day to read emails after you have accomplished #1 and #2 on your “To Do” list.
- Turn on your auto responders letting people know that you respond to emails at “x” time daily.
- Take 1 hour per week to unsubscribe to spam or unwanted emails or send them to your spam folder automatically
- Turn off notifications on your phone from sources like Facebook, email servers, text messages, etc.
- Tell your friends and loved ones that you don’t respond to text messages and emails while at work. If it is really important, they need to call.
Communicating with family and friends is important; however, good communication is best in person or over the phone. Texting and emailing loses the emphasis and body language that you get from voice inflections and face to face conversations. Just think of the good conversations you can have with your family if you wait to talk to them when you see them.
You’ll excel at work because you’ll be more productive than your peers who let the distractions keep them from getting their best work done. Also, you’ll be able to leave your work at work and enjoy your time with family.