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Last Updated on February 16, 2021

9 Ways to Eliminate Distractions and Do Your Best Work

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9 Ways to Eliminate Distractions and Do Your Best Work

There are hundreds of decoys and distractions jumping in the front seat of your life and they will take over the steering wheel if you allow them. They always promise extraordinary results and outstanding effects, but what they really do is keep you from doing important things and achieving your big goals. You have no choice but to eliminate distractions if you have dreams and aspirations to attain.

There are several ways these distractions can be managed and eliminated when you’re at work.

1. Remove Bad Habits

Manage your life habits by resting well, eating a healthy diet, and exercising to boost your energy. Turn off the TV, or better yet, move it to a less frequented room. Set up a bedtime routine, which will help you sleep well.

These simple actions will give you a clearer mind and energy to do your work while also eliminating bad habits. They will make you appreciate relaxation and physical wellness. The negativity voices from the media vultures won’t reach you as easily once you get to know the state of blissful health and clarity.

Remember, you won’t get very far in a broken machine. You’ll need it well-oiled and ready for a challenge to avoid feeling overwhelmed and losing focus. Being an achiever in the long-term is what you want, but burning out quickly is what you get without sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise.

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2. Declutter Your Mind

A cacophony of voices, text messages, tweets, sales pitches, and bold headlines fight for your attention. You hear a song on the radio hit list, and you can’t hear your own voice over its continuous replay in your head.

The first thing you should do is notice that you’re running on autopilot. The next natural step is to turn it off. It’s not easy to fight your default mechanism at first, but with practice and mindfulness, you can overcome it and eliminate distractions from your racing mind.

Start exercising your impulse-control, and focus on the here and now. Writing that report will go much easier if you enter the state of flow.

3. Clarify Your Day Before You Start

In the morning, before your workday begins, dedicate a few minutes to managing your schedule. A great way to do it is by applying the Covey time management matrix. Have a moment to set your priorities and determine which tasks are truly vital and urgent that day, which are not so urgent but still very important, and which you should avoid, either by delegating or eliminating them altogether.

This last type of task may be tricky because they will often be urgent, though uninspiring, issues, like questions from colleagues concerning their problems, phone calls, and emails that you answer by default, only because you’ve always done it and that’s the way it’s always been.

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Instead, take control and make a conscious decision of what you’re going to when they come knocking. Once you’ve made it, hold on to it, and ruthlessly follow through.

4. Prepare Your Workplace

When you’re facing a lengthy or complex task involving concentration, prepare your place of work so that you can avoid and eliminate distractions and won’t need to take unnecessary breaks[1]. Empty the wall in front of you to keep your mind on track. Photos, prints and various knick-knacks you like to display may be cute, but they will make your mind wander.

Declutter your office and desk to enable the free flow of energy. Also, cater to your physical needs; make sure you have some water and a light snack around in case you feel thirsty or hungry. It’s good for your body and spares you the trip to the nearest vending machine with high-calorie snacks that are heavy on your waist.

5. Zen Your Computer

The first and most obvious distraction is the incessant stream of incoming email. You can see it on your desktop and hear a signal every time there’s a new message. Curiosity always wins, so eliminate distractions like these by turning off notifications and getting rid of unnecessary apps.

For other distractions, you can block certain sites using online software if the sites are just too tempting. Staying focused during your work day will get much easier when it’s distraction free.

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This is one of the best ways to manage distractions, but for more insight, you can check out this Fast Track Class: Overcoming Distractions.

6. Set Your Time

Don’t forget about the second most important element of our puzzle here: time. Setting time slots for individual tasks makes them more substantial and less elusive. After you sit down at your desk, write a list of tasks with time allotment.

Don’t sweat if you run a little late with your schedule; it’s solely for a bit of orientation and to help you with future planning. This habit makes your day finite and grounds your workload in it, so you’re able to keep track of every moment and avoid procrastination.

7. Solidify Your Attitude

To avoid and eliminate distractions, manage your approach to the task. The “act as if…” approach works nicely. It is simple: pretend you’re being watched and your task is approaching the deadline.

It has been proven that our performance improves significantly if we know we’re being observed and assessed, so act as if you’re being watched and evaluated, as you likely will be at some point.

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8. Close the Door

Stephen King, the master of American horror and a very diligent, prolific writer, gives this advice in his book On Writing. If you can’t close the door literally, do it figuratively. Tell everyone that you’re busy for a certain period of time and ask them not to disturb you.

If you work all the time you’re at work instead of chatting with coworkers, you’ll gain a lot of time, which will let you move much faster and achieve even more. This also involves turning off your phone or muting it when you want to focus.

9. Manage Your Tasks

You need to deal with big tasks first. They may be overwhelming and discouraging, so what you need to do is break them up to smaller chunks. It also helps to assign an amount of time to each bit of work so you know how long it will take and can plan your time accordingly.

Take it one step at a time and don’t let fears and worries distract you from your work. To get that problem out of your way, do the opposite: compile and put together a bunch of minor assignments and complete them all in a row. It’s especially effective if the tasks are of similar nature, like money transfers, phone calls, or a pile of invoices to input.

Final Thoughts

Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you just go on with your usual routine and forget what you’ve learned today, you may fail to eliminate distractions at work.

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What can you do right now to apply at least one piece of advice from this article and eliminate the biggest distractions? Do your best to develop your ability to focus on what’s in front of you and improve more each day.

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

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The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

Suppose you finally took the plunge: resigned your corporate job, decided to follow the passion of your life and (by lack of a new office space, of course), you started to work from home. Welcome to the club! Been there for a few years now and, guess what, it turned out that working from home is not as simple as I thought it would be.

It certainly has a tons of advantages, but those advantages won’t come in a sugary, care free, or all pinky and happy-go-lucky package. On the contrary. When you work from home, maintaining a constant productivity flow may be a real challenge. And there are many reasons for that.

For instance, you may still unconsciously assimilate your home with your relaxation space, hence a little nap on the couch, in the middle of the day, with still a ton of unfinished tasks, may seem like a viable option. Well, not! Or, because you’re working from home now, you think you can endlessly postpone some of your projects for ever, since nobody is on your back anymore. You’re your own boss and decided to be a gentle one. Fatal mistake. Or…

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OK, let’s stop with the reasons right here and move on to the practical part. So, what can you do to squeeze each and every inch of usefulness and productivity from your new working space and schedule (namely, your home)? What follows is a short list of what I found to be fundamentally necessary when you walk on this path.

1. Set Up A Specific Workplace

And stay there. That specific workspace may be a specific room (your home office), or a part of a room. Whatever it is, it must be clearly designed as a work area, with as little interference from your home space as possible. The coexistence of your home and work space is just a happy accident. But just because of that, those two spaces don’t necessarily have to blend together.

If you move your work space constantly around various parts of your house, instead of a single “anchor space”, something awkward will happen. Your home won’t feel like home anymore. That’s one of the most popular reasons for quitting working form home: “My home didn’t feel like home anymore”. Of course it didn’t if you mixed all its parts with your work space.

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2. Split Work Into Edible Chunks

Don’t aim too high. Don’t expect to do big chunks of work in a single step. That was one of the most surprising situations I encountered when I first started to work from home. Instead of a steady, constant flow of sustained activity, all I could do were short, compact sessions on various projects. It took a while to understand why.

When you work in a populated workspace, you behave differently. There is a subtle field of energy created by humans when they’re in their own proximity, and that field alone can be enough of an incentive to do much more than you normally do. Well, when you’re at home, alone, this ain’t gonna happen. That’s why you should use whatever productivity technique you’re comfortable with to split your work in small, edible chunks: GTD, pomodoro.

3. Work Outside Home

In coffee shops or other places, like shared offices. It may sound a little bit counterintuitive, to work outside your home when you’re working from home. But only in the beginning. You’ll soon realize that working from home doesn’t mean you have to stay there all the time. It basically means your home is also your office and you’re free to go outside if you want to.

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I know this may not apply to all of the “work from home” situations, but for those related to information processing, when all you need is a laptop an internet connection, that usually works beautifully. It adds a very necessary element of diversity and freshness. It can also be the source of some very interesting social interactions, especially when you have to solve all sort of digital nomad situations.

4. Go Out!

Working from home may be socially alienating. After almost 3 years of doing it, I finally accepted this as a fact. So, apart from balancing your home time with consistent sessions of working outside of your home, you should definitely go out more often. Our normal work routine, the one that is performed in an office, that is, makes for an important slice of our social interaction needs. Once you’re working from home, that slice won’t be there anymore. But your need for social contacts will remain constant.

So, my solution to this was to grow my social interaction significantly over what I was having when I was working in my own office. Going out to movies, running in the park, meeting for drinks or just chat, whatever it takes to get me out of my home/working space. On a one to ten scale, my social life before was around 3 and now is at a steady 7.

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5. Thoroughly Log Each And Every Day

It goes hand in hand with keeping a personal journal, but this time it’s about work, not personal feelings and experiences. Keep a detailed log of each project and be always ready to pick up from where you left one day or one week ago in just a matter of minutes. It’s not only a productivity enhancer, although it will help you be more productive, but it’s more on the accountability area.

When you work from home you’re your own boss. And, for any of you who are (or have been) bosses, this is not an easy position. You gotta keep track of all the information about your team and of every advancement in your projects. That’s what a boss is supposed to do, after all. When you work from home you have to perform this bossy role too, otherwise you will be lost in your own unfinished ideas and endless project stubs faster than you think.

Featured photo credit: Ian Harber via unsplash.com

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