We have all done it! Logged onto Facebook at the office when things were slow. Emails, text messages, instant messaging, FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, web surfing and regular old school telephone calls have all become part of a busy professional’s typical day. Technology and the social media age have changed not only our work habits, but unfortunately, our productivity levels.
According to a 2009 Nucleus Research Study, 77% of employees logged onto Facebook while on the job, and 87% of those users had no business purpose in doing so.
In the book Willpower, authors John Tierney and Roy Baumeister point out that average computer users view three dozen websites per day.
According to a Basex Research study, the average worker is interrupted 11 times per hour. These interruptions result in the reduction of our average work day’s productivity by 90 minutes, according to a uSamp survey.
How’s all of this for distraction!?
How many times per day are you distracted? How can you learn to cut down the distractions in order to boost productivity? The answer is simple- willpower. Mustering willpower can be challenging. However, those that master the art of self-control are often at the top of their respective industry.
Here are some tips to help you cut down the distractions:
- Embrace Time Management- While this phrase seems cliché, it is critical when seeking to cut down distractions. Time block your activities for maximum effectiveness. Basically, when it is time to focus, turn off your IM service, log-off of Facebook, and put your phone on silent.
- Big Rocks First- We seem to avoid the most important to-do list items, opting instead for those that seem easier to check off. To maximize your effectiveness, begin with those items that MUST be completed, not the “would be nice to complete’ items. Work top down from most important, to least important, to be more effective with your time.
- Clear it Off- If it isn’t there, it is pretty hard for it to distract you! When you are working, brainstorming or working creatively, clear off your work space.
- Offsite Working- If you truly cannot turn off the noise, remove yourself from it completely. Many find themselves much more productive when working in an isolated environment. Keep in mind that this solo environment doesn’t have to be quiet and away from the daily grind. In fact, many produce their best work in their local coffee shops with their headphones on.
- Break Times- Since you won’t be able to cut yourself off completely, schedule lots of mini-breaks to check back in with the world. These breaks should follow concentrated work blocks. For example, work, work, work for 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. Repeat. Working in this manner will enable the periods of work and play time to be more productive.
While technology can become distracting, it is invaluable to your future business prospects. Learn to leverage the technology, while preventing it from derailing your success. When you master this self-control skill, there’s nothing else to stand in your way of greatness! Implementing task tracking software is also an important step to staying time efficient and productive.
Dale Bell, 17, is an entrepreneur, blogger and sports enthusiast from the UK who is best known for his work in international youth business. His current businesses include Green Gecko Media and Disc-Repair.