Squirrel! Tips for Avoiding Distractions at Work
By Linda Clevenger, Organization Direct.
I love getting things done – marking things off of my checklist. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction.
I have to say that some days are better than others.
I wish that I were 150 percent productive every day of the week. In the past, I used to push myself to make sure that I achieved a certain level of accomplishment — usually at least 120 percent, because 100 percent was just not enough.
Truth is – I’m real and some days I’m more distracted than other days. I had to find a way to avoid distractions.
Try these easy tips to avoid work-related distractions.
1. Recognize what distracts you. In our area the co-working space is just launching. It is an awesome idea – to be and “hang” around a group of entrepreneurs who all have ideas and are happy to share them with you is just awesome. However, I am able to recognize that others can easily distract me and it can keep me from being productive and focusing on what is important. In other words….”Squirrel!” So, while I love the co-working opportunity, I know that I can only handle so much distraction. I’ll have to limit the number of hours that I work in that type of environment.
2. Use technology tools to stay focused. I have a variety of tools that I use for myself and my clients to keep us on track. Some of my favs are: Trello (I use this to manage the clients of my client). One client who is also an entrepreneur hired me to keep his clients organized. I use Trello to track, follow-up and document my work with his clients – Trello is a great tool to manage the long list of “next steps” for each client. And I’m not distracted by going through the files wondering what I should be doing next – and…he knows the next step (even if I’m not there).
There are a gazillion tools out there. You are already aware of this. Two options that I am currently looking into (and I’d love your feedback) are CoSchedule and Asana!. Here is what Entrepreneur.com says you should have in your ToolBox. The key to any tool is to be consistent. Find it, like it and then stick with it.
3. Be a planner. Take time on Sunday evening to plan your week. Put everything on your calendar. I use Google calendar because of its diversity. Just like you, I have business, personal and “fun” things on my calendar. In order for me to be able to have fun, I plan it into my calendar. During the summer, my fun is to camp with the family (4 Star Camping, I’m not sleeping on the ground). When we purchased our RV, I made the agreement with our family that we had to use it four times a year.
Another tool that has worked for me to start the week is to hold a Weekly Meeting (with myself). I’ll discuss my appointments, my goals, my needs, weekly revenue and plot out what I need to do that week.
My last thought on this topic is truly work your business. Especially for those who work from home, set up a work schedule that you follow, just as if you were working for corporate America again. Distractions are everywhere, if you are working from home. Set a schedule and stick to it. Really, truly work 9-5.
If you are out networking, schedule that time into your calendar, without becoming stuck in unproductive conversation for hours and hours after the meeting has ended. Schedule another appointment after the network meeting — you won’t want to be late and it will keep you from becoming distracted with conversation.
The bottom line is you are in charge of what you choose to do with your time. Allow yourself to succeed. Get out of your own way. Avoid distractions and be productive.
Read Linda’s previous columns on Fredericksburg.Today.
Columns on Fredericksburg.Today are recurrent features on specific topics or by regular contributors. Guest writers present their own point-of-view and may not necessarily represent the viewpoint of Fredericksburg.Today.
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