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There is no doubt that technology can make your everyday life easier. It makes communication faster and enables you to do your tasks more efficiently. But if you have problems with prioritizing your daily tasks, certain aspects of technology might actually decrease your productivity. Technology can be a constant distraction which prevents you from excelling at work.
Some people have no difficulties ignoring distractions such as social media, email, online shopping or watching videos – activities that have been identified as the top online distractions in the workplace. These people know how to prioritize and don’t have any problems with technology affecting their productivity. Others don’t even realize how much time they waste on non-work related activities.
The accessibility of technology requires focus and discipline when you are working or looking for a job. Following the advice below can help you limit distractions that make you less productive.
Reduce Unnecessary Notifications
Smartphones, PCs, and tablets certainly help you stay connected, but constant notifications can be distracting. Checking your messages whenever you get a notification on your device can interrupt your work and lead to reduced focus.
Email is especially known as a culprit for reducing productivity at work. While many people rely on email to communicate with other employees and clients, it can quickly get out of hand. This is why companies such as WordPress have stopped using email entirely. Others find that saving email for the end of the day helps minimize time wasted by reading and replying to messages.
You can use email filters to ensure that only the necessary information gets through to you. Save checking all other emails for your free time. If email is not crucial to your work, the smartest choice would be to turn off all email alerts entirely.
When it comes to smartphones, many of these devices have “Do Not Disturb” modes, which allow you to receive calls and messages from specific contacts while minimizing other distractions such as personal calls.
Don’t Let Apps and Websites Waste Your Time
Checking your social media accounts is probably the easiest way to waste an hour or more browsing Facebook or Twitter. Simply knowing your apps and websites are easily accessible on your phone or PC can lead you into temptation.
The best way to deal with the temptation of using apps is to delete them altogether. A lighter approach is to turn off notifications from those apps or group them into folders you know you shouldn’t touch during work hours.
If using social media is essential for your job, consider a separate professional account. At the very least, utilize lists so you can view updates from only those contacts that are work-related.
Some apps can actually help you increase your productivity. They can help you limit the amount of time you spend using other apps or browsing websites.
RescueTime is a great app that can tell you which apps or websites are occupying the most of your time. This way you will know exactly how much time you spend on non-work related activities. If you are not disciplined enough, you can try using Anti-Social. This is a browser plug-in that prevents you from visiting social media. Try using other tools such as SelfControl or StayFocusd which can limit the time you spend on specified websites.
Alternatively, if you do not require internet for work, you can simply turn off the connection on your phone or computer.
Avoid Distraction-Filled Environments
Since your working environment has a direct impact on your ability to focus and concentrate, if you can, you should carefully choose where you work.
If you are a remote worker, you are faced with even more distractions than traditional employees. In general, remote workers are usually more productive than workers in traditional offices. However, working from home without supervision and with many distractions at hand, you can easily fall into temptation.
To prevent this from happening, you should set up you home office in a TV-free room. Keeping business hours and letting your family or roommates know when you’re working will reduce the possibility of unnecessary phone calls and messages.
If you take your work to a public space such as a coffee shop, choose one that’s quiet and TV-free. Try avoiding busy times such as lunch or right before or after the 9 – 5 shift.
Take Breaks and Schedule Time for Distractions
If you work for longer periods of time without taking short breaks, it could be the reason why you are susceptible to distractions. After long periods of focusing on your work, it is natural for your concentration to drop. This is why taking short breaks periodically throughout your day actually boosts productivity. Stepping away from your desk to take a walk, have a cup of coffee or even chat with your coworkers helps you resume your activities without a decrease in productivity.
The best way to take breaks is to schedule them in advance. For example, you might work on a project for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. Knowing that you have an upcoming break enables you to focuses on your work in the meantime. During this break, you can focus on some of those distraction activities, including e-mail and social media. Just be careful not to let those five minutes become more.
This way of working is known as the Pomodoro technique. This time management technique is a great way of increasing productivity. It can help you to fully concentrate on your tasks and finish them faster. It enables you to easily break down bigger tasks into smaller ones and to manage your time more efficiently.
At certain times, technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It helps you get your work done but it can be an easy distraction and has the potential to decreases your productivity. Fortunately, the same technology that can leech time away from you can be used to be more productive. It is important to find balance in the way you use technology and to make sure you know your priorities.