Behind deadlines, behind on email, behind on housework… you name it we all face the crunch at one time or another. Some more often than others.
Personally, I find the housework piles up more than my email, the projects more than the housework. Sometimes it’s a classic case of procrastination but often it’s simply too many distractions and interruptions.
So what is this post about? It’s about what I’ve found are the top distractions and some ways I avoid them to get my work done.
- Email Notifications — seriously, do you really need to be updated on your incoming email every 5-10 minutes? If you’re really pressed for time you should simply shutdown that email for an hour, drop on the headphones and tune out. This works with scheduling your email dashes.
- RSS Feeds — I subscribe to many feeds which means there is always something new being published. I still swear by bloglines as it’s one central and useful tool for reading and tracking feeds and articles. The key is that it’s a web app that requires you to open and login to be notified of news. As opposed to a notification in your taskbar that will only kill your productivity.
- Organization, or lack of it — I find if I get behind with clutter and mess that my organization takes a big hit. And when I’m not organized I find ways to procrastinate or simply lose focus. The key is to keep a tidy workspace with good practices. Meaning, when you take things out, put them back when you are done. And make sure you have a convenient and efficient way of archiving and retrieving your papers, files and other resources.
- Stress — Feeling the crunch, lack of sleep, not enough time, thinking about money. It happens to all of us. I find when the stress level goes up it helps to sit back and take a breather. This could mean go for a walk around the block, catch up on my RSS feeds or anything else that takes my mind off the stress. A short breather to keep balance is key to maintain productivity.