Soooo, this is the 2nd of my posts about being more productive. The last one was quite a while ago but if you missed it you can read again here. This time it's about reducing distractions and it sounds very easy to do, but it does take a bit of self-discipline!
The beginning of the day for me goes a bit like this... I get up, eat breakfast, walk the dog or go for a run, then I head up the long commute which is my garden path to my studio at the top of my garden, armed with my cup of tea and iPod. I need to have plenty of good music to keep me sane throughout the day. (At the moment I'm enjoying The Weepies, very chilled out and easy to listen to but I'm sure you all have your favourites). I then switch on my computer, check my emails and respond to any that are urgent and then I'm ready to tackle the list of jobs for that day. Quite often, before that I'll have a sneaky little browse on the net, catch up on my favourite blogs, see who's been tweeting or facebooking and then I may stop off at a few forums to post or comment..... Can you see where I'm going with this? The internet and all of the wonders on offer can be VERY distracting, and before you know it, twenty blogs down the line, it's 10.30 and time for another brew...
So, if this sounds familiar, you'll know where I am coming from when I say that we need to cut down on time spent online if we are to become more productive. Did you know that most people are interrrupted approximately every 12 minutes while we are working? And did you know that we can probably control most of these interruptions if we REALLY want to?
What I do, is try to limit the amount of time I check my emails. I physically close the program down if the computer needs to be on, just so I'm not tempted to go and peek when the little 'you've got mail' ping sounds! Ditto, Twitter (as much as I love it) and also ditto Facebook. We need to switch them off. No-one is going to die if we don't check our emails every 30 minutes or tweet every time we feel the need. Trust me, if you really want to be more productive you need to take these distractions far far away!!
Schedule email checking times, schedule in some time for social networking, and stick to this. Even if you need to set a timer to make sure you don't exceed your allotted time, it will work. It just takes a bit of practice. To be able to concentrate on what you are doing you need to be present and 'in the moment' and this is nigh on impossible if you have beeps, texts, tweets and things taking away your attention from the task in hand.