Productivity Hack- Stop Distraction in its Tracks

productivity-hackFor many people the internet is a necessary tool of their job. Unfortunately, the internet is full of distracting sites and ways to procrastinate. A quick check on Facebook can take over half an hour to get through all the updates and read the interesting links.

You might sit down to work with the best of intentions but sometimes a frustrating problem or lack of motivation can lead people to take a quick break to read the news or log onto a social media site. Or you might suddenly get the urge to Youtube a particular song to listen to while working. The problem with this is that a quick break usually ends up being longer than expected and once you do return to the problem, it takes longer for you to get back into the right mindset.

To stop yourself from mindlessly wasting your time you can set up automatic software to block certain websites during your work hours. During this time you can focus on creating, organizing or writing without distractions. If you try to access a blocked site, you’ll see an error message, blank page or if you set it up, a motivational vision board.

Depending on what browser and computer you use, there are different programs out there like StayFocusd (Chrome), Nanny for Google Chrome, Leechblock (Firefox), or Self Control (Mac users) and Focal Filter (PC Users).

The programs let you program what you want blocked and when. If you need to access Facebook to update your fan page or stay in touch with your contacts you can limit it to a certain time amount within a day. It’s not just social media sites that offer distractions, constantly checking your email breaks your focus, even if it is work related.

Plan out your ideal day based on your priorities and use website-blocking tools to help you stay on track. You may want to commit to an hour each morning where you can only access Microsoft word to write while you’re fresh. If you come across something you want to share or email during a time when social media sites are blocked, bookmark it or save it to a program like Feedly. Not only will you end up spending more time on your important tasks you’ll be more efficient at them when you’re not multi-tasking.

No matter which program you use there is always some kind of work-around. If Facebook is blocked on a work computer, many just turn to their cell phones to check in with their friends. In order to make the most of out of this strategy consider using an additional reminder to focus on what’s truly important.

Some of the programs allow you to set up a page that you are diverted to if you try to access a blocked site. What I find most useful is to set up a vision and motivation board using Pinterest or another site. Vision boards are great ways to remind ourselves of what we want but we may not look at it that often. With this trick, you are reminded of your ultimate goals every time you are about to waste time on distracting sites. Rather than being frustrated that you’re being blocked you’ll remember why you set up the restrictions in the first place.

You can make a secret board on Pinterest if you’d rather not let anyone else see your vision board. You could even use this vision board as your homepage so that once you start up your browser you are reminded of your ultimate goals.

Depending on your goals and usual distractions you can add more specific pins to your own vision and motivation board. I’ve created an example of what a board might look like with some quotes and vision board examples.  Here’s some images you might want to pin to remind yourself that your time is valuable.

Bill Phillips Quote

How do you handle distractions while working?

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