5 Ways to Stay Productive by Taming Tech Distractions
If you find yourself distracted by technology in the workplace, you’re not alone. According to the Salt Lake City Deseret News, a recent study concluded that technological distractions such as checking social media sites may costs workers as much as six hours worth of productivity each week. That work either never gets done or it winds up on your co-workers’ desks. Either way, it costs your company money, makes you a pariah and puts a roadblock in your path to a bigger paycheck and a C-suite office. Put technology back in its place and get some real work done:
Go Ahead, Take a Break
Even on the clock, there’s nothing wrong with a little break. Just make sure you’ve been working for the last 90 minutes or so. According to Nytimes.com, that’s how Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, managed to get through the task of writing his last two books, according to NYTimes.com. A short break gives you a chance to refocus and stay productive. So go ahead, peek at Facebook after slogging through your latest TPS report—but only for 10 minutes or so. When it’s time to work, stay focused on the task at hand.
Define Your Task Before Turning to Technology
Technology is a tool for getting things done. To use it productively, know what your goal is before you ever press a button or flip a switch. According to the American Express Open Forum, even productivity apps can become time-wasters if you don’t use them correctly. Technology is a black hole for unfocused professionals. Avoid it until you have a tangible goal.
Block Access to Social Media
Sometimes you need to talk to people outside of both your office and your network. Consider that American Express card from the previous tip: Maybe you would like to find if other business users have been happy with its terms and conditions. In a case like that, social media is a great place to turn. However, much of the time, social media is not so much a business tool as a business trap. Avoid it. If you cannot bring yourself to logout voluntarily, consider using a tool like Anti-Social to temporarily block your access. Your “To Do” list will thank you.
Tame Your Email Client
As Christoper Null, of NBC News, notes, most of us are as addicted to checking our email as a caged gerbil is to checking his sugar-water spout. If you find yourself checking email more than a few times a day, you may want to step back and evaluate your turnaround time for important messages. As long as you are keeping communication flowing at a reasonable pace, there is no reason let your inbox tyrannize your time. If you simply cannot resist the siren song of an email notification, simply turn them off. The message will still be waiting for you when you check your inbox on your own terms.
Stick Your SmartPhone in a Drawer
In a sea of office technology owned and operated for the benefit of your company, a personal smartphone sitting on your desk can seem like a lifeline connecting you to the world outside your cubicle walls. That makes it an especially potent distraction. While you are at work, your best bet may be to make that smartphone as inaccessible as possible. The less time you spend surreptitiously reading, tweeting and posting while on the clock, the more quickly you can get back home to reading, tweeting and posting on technology owned and operated for your benefit.