Exactly, as the title tried to state, we are going to talk about distractions. It seems they come from everywhere these days. Technology and social media allow us to be connected 24/7 which makes it a tough obstacle to stay focused or concentrated on what we are doing. Do you ever find yourself at work in the depths of Facebook thinking, “How did I get here? Why am I looking at a friend of a friend of a friend’s vacation to Italy from 2006?” Hey, it happens. We like to call these “time sucks” – AKA a waste of time. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take breaks or that breaks aren’t healthy, but when the break becomes too long and what you were doing becomes irrelevant you lose focus and it becomes harder to get back to accomplishing what you were doing in the first place.
Here are some things to remember to avoid time sucks:
- Environment: Set yourself up in a place where you know there will be little-to-no distractions. Maybe this means going to the library for a few hours to get some course work done or staying late after work at your desk could be a great place to get stuff done.
- Put time limits on using social media, apps, and games: Some people reward themselves with a quick blog or Facebook scroll once they’ve finished a daunting task (i.e. – studying). Quick breaks like these will help refocus you, but set a timer on your phone or give yourself a time limit for when you must start studying/working again. This will ensure that you maximize your time and breaks effectively.
- Let others around you know you’re working/studying: Sometimes the biggest distraction can be PEOPLE. Whether they are physically in front you or behind a computer screen, 23% of people are distracted by their coworkers on a regular basis (Forbes, 2015). Letting someone know you’re busy or in the middle of something can be easier said than done, but be transparent. For example, let the person know that you have a really big deadline to reach or that you’re taking a big exam on Monday, so you have to stay focused. Give them another time that you’ll be available. This makes the interaction seem less dismissive.
Don’t let time sucks get the best of you. Sometimes we forget the implications that wasted time has on our productivity, concentration, and motivation. Practice the tips above to maximize your time management!