According to the Social Media Report 2012, Americans collectively spend over 2 billion hours per month on social media. That’s 2 billion hours that could be spent playing with our kids, resting, going out with our husbands or even cleaning the house. That’s 2 billion hours we will never get back. Social media is just one example of the many distractions we face daily. Distractions cause us to be disengaged with life. Instead of actually living, we’re distracted. This spring, let’s make it a goal to eliminate unnecessary distractions and be more productive. Let’s start feeling more fulfilled!
Set “offline” hours
The internet is by far the biggest distraction we face. Between social media, Google, games, online shopping and everything in between, we’re losing precious hours daily. Commit yourself to setting “offline” hours to where you must find beneficial ways to fill your time. Make it realistic to your life and your schedule. If you work a 9-5 office job and have kids, for example, maybe your “offline” hours should be between 6pm and 8pm, and then again after 9pm. If you’re a SAHM, “offline” hours could be in the morning before kids go to school, from noon to 8pm, and then again after 9pm. It’s totally up to you, but setting a specific schedule will help you stay on task.
Clear out visual clutter
Visual clutter is extremely distracting for some people. If you find it prevents you from focusing, it’s time to get rid of it (or at least store it out of sight). At work, clear your desk of all papers, files and knick-knacks at the end of each day. Clutter on your desk can prevent you from staying on task, even if only for a few minutes, but those minutes do add up. At home, try to stay organized and have a place for everything. Clearing out visual clutter makes you more productive, giving you a sense of satisfaction and making it feel as if you’ve added extra hours to your day.
Plan for interruptions
Whether at an office full of chatty coworkers or at home with needy kids, interruptions are inevitable. Hey, even if you live alone and work from home, the phone will still ring and people will find a way to interrupt you. Plan for this! If you’ve set aside time for interruptions each day, you’ll be able to handle them with grace and it will seem as if you aren’t actually being interrupted.
Tip: Cleaning is a perfect example of this. If you unload half the dishwasher, then throw a load of laundry in, then make the bed, then clean the bathroom mirror, you’ll end up tiring yourself out walking all around the house doing random tasks. Instead, choose one room, clean it completely and move on to the next.
As much as we pride ourselves on multitasking, humans are actually single-task creatures. We get more done and we do a better job at it if we only do one thing at a time. We’ve been trained to think multitasking means we’ll get everything done quicker and more efficiently, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. Focus on the task at hand, finish it completely and move on.
More on distractions
Working Mom 3.0: Eliminate distractions
How to be more efficient when you work from home
4 Secrets of productive parents
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