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How to Deal with Constant Distractions

Whether you’re interrupted by kids, your phone, or your dog, it seems impossible to get important work done now.

Dr. Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine has found that it takes an average of 23 minutes for a person to fully regain her/his focus on a task after being distracted.

Here are four strategies that will help you and your colleagues stay focused:

1. Define Culture - Have a healthy conversation in your workplace about these issues and come to agreement on things you can do as a team. Make it part of your culture that fits your organization. Consider creating a short-term task force to tackle this issue. Especially while many are working from home.

2. Communicate with Roommates and Co-Workers - Create a signal when you seek uninterrupted time. Go into a space, put a sign up on your door, send out a Slack message that you need to focus for an hour, or put on headphones.

3. Limit Email Interaction - Turn off the computer alert that lets you know when an email comes in. Schedule time throughout the day to check emails. Choose low productivity times to work your emails. Turn your emails into action, or delete them. If you’re afraid to delete them, set up a folder for “If I Ever Need This Information.”

4. Take Control of Your Phone - Turn off notifications during your work time or use technology to help you out. Consider Forest, a free app that starts killing a virtual tree every time you pick up your phone. Or Time Guard, another free app that provides controls so you can get to certain apps and websites during specific times of the day.

Regardless of the tools and ideas to help eliminate distractions, don’t forget to come to agreement with your team and your family or roommates so you’re all in it together. This is a big issue for companies in the U.S., costing companies a staggering $997 billion (with a b) a year!

If you have a few more minutes in your day, check out this podcast, Becoming Indistractable from How to Be Awesome at Your Job. I enjoyed hearing from Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, with a new book coming out in 2019 called Indistractable.

More good information came from this article MindTools article, Minimizing Distractions

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