Between our smartphones, laptops, and tablets, we have more than enough distractions at our fingertips at any given moment. When you enter the workplace and add the interruptions of your co-workers, vendors, and bosses, your ability to complete tasks is seriously diminished.
A study at the University of California Irvine found that each time a worker was distracted, it took an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task.
To combat unproductive time in the workplace:
- Try setting a designated period each day where you are uninterruptible.
- Consider carving out an hour each day and blocking it on your calendar.
- Use this time to brainstorm, prepare, and work on critical projects.
Without technology and chit-chat distractions, you will be amazed at how productive you can truly be! We often mistake the small, distracting tasks for productivity when the two are quite different.
During this time, you should avoid all emails, calls, and texts that are not urgent. If you find things popping up during the period that cannot be delayed, address the issue and return to your uninterrupted state.
This also means no Facebook, Instagram, or other social sites. While it may be tempting to check your social media profiles, browsing these sites distracts you from the tasks that need to be completed.
You may not be able to avoid distractions for 30 minutes each day fully. But while you may only have 10 minutes to dedicate today, tomorrow may allow for 15 minutes. Adding this exercise into your routine will require practice, as avoiding distractions is rare in our technology-focused society. However, utilizing this technique over time will allow you to increase productivity and may make measurable advancements on critical projects and initiatives.
Make it a great day! Patrick
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.