There are some workdays where distractions are abound and you can’t even remember what you’re supposed to be doing. In trying times like these, you need all the help you can get, just to stay focused and on task. Here are four simple adjustments to your work routine that have been proven to do wonders to increase productivity.
Organize Your Digital Desktop and Files
Everybody knows that a cluttered desk isn’t conducive to productivity, but did you know that the same logic applies to your PC’s desktop? It turns out that if your digital desktop is cluttered with so many random icons that it becomes difficult to navigate, then this will hinder your focus and distract you from being productive. Thankfully, organizing your digital desktop is easy to do–much easier than cleaning your real desk. The trick is to delete unnecessary files and organize important files into folders. Keep this up until you can actually see your desktop image.
While you’re at it, go ahead and change your desktop image to something that’s calm and colorful. Surrounding yourself with images like this has been proven to boost memory retention and employee engagement.
The same goes for organizing your email and to-do lists. If you take the time to structure everything in a way that makes sense to you, whether it be by priority or category, you’ll spend less time rummaging through messages and tasks.
Make Bad Habits Hard to Do
Do you have the willpower to resist finishing off a box of doughnuts sitting on your desk? Admittedly, most of us here at Symmetric IT Group consider this an exercise in willpower. But what if the tempting doughnuts were located at the opposite end of your office building? That would make these delicious treats a lot less tempting, and thus, a lot less distracting to your productivity.
You can actually apply this idea to anything that you deem to be distracting. By making the distraction harder to access, you’ll effectively minimize its grasp over your willpower. In addition to doing this with physical objects like doughnuts and mobile devices, you can also use a content filtering solution to make distracting websites difficult to access. Symmetric IT Group can show you how to do this.
Make Delayed Gratification Work for You
When you’re in a bit of a funk and not particularly motivated to get work done, then the littlest thing can be very distracting, like checking social media, grabbing a snack, or listening in on a coworker’s nearby conversation. What’s worse, did you know that once your focus gets pulled away from a project, it can take five-to-fifteen minutes just to regain your full attention?
If you’re able to delay these distracting pleasures until a designated time, and then fully immerse yourself in what you’re craving as a reward, you’ll be making delayed gratification work for you. This will work wonders to improve your productivity. For example, instead of getting distracted for two minutes by a new movie trailer that just dropped, try bookmarking the tab for later and then powering through your project until you reach an appropriate time for a break. When you get to your break, you can then watch the trailer, as well as read all of the comments and reviews, which is a much more satisfying way to consume such content.
“Do What Takes Two”
One big productivity killer can be the little tasks that are randomly asked of you throughout the day, like emails or phone calls. In order to keep these distractions from overwhelming your workday, it’s recommended that you knock out any task that takes less than two minutes as soon as it hits your plate. InformationWeek explains this logic:
The problem is that later never comes at the perfect time. There will always be more pressing responsibilities at hand, and those smaller tasks will continue to accumulate throughout the day. Once-minor errands become a source of stress as they sit on your to-do list… [“Do what takes two” is] an easy way to eliminate unnecessary stress, especially because these simple tasks will take up so little time.
These productivity tips are simple and super easy to implement, yet they have the potential to revolutionize your workday, especially when you’re not “feeling it.” What are some of your favorite ways to stay on task and minimize the distractions in your workplace? Share them with us in the comments!