Top 10 Distractions Making You Less Productive

We all fight distractions. While they may be different from one person to another, they are there, taking away from our work and making us less productive.

Do you struggle to finish projects?

Are you always getting interrupted?

Identifying your distractions is the first step. Here are 10 of the things I find most distracting during my work day.

1. Social Media

social-media-distraction

This is a huge one because spending 10 minutes on Facebook can quickly blossom into an hour or even an entire day. Facebook isn’t the only culprit, either. SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram and so many others could lead you to losing precious hours in your day as you mess around on social media.

Eliminating the Distraction

Beating the social media distraction isn't easy, but it's possible. Click To Tweet

Beating the social media distraction isn’t easy, but it’s possible. First, when you’re working, shut down anything that doesn’t have to do with the project you’re working on. Second, set up a pocket of time, maybe two, each day for social media. Usually 15-20 minutes is enough, unless using social media is part of your actual job.

2. Email

How many of you keep your email open all day and see that little envelope pop up? Does it distract you? Even if you don’t stop working to check it, your brain has shifted and you’re now thinking about the message and what it might be.

This may be the worst distraction I fight. I love getting new emails about new things going on with my blog, my social media or my clients. However, it takes my focus away from what I am currently doing.

Eliminating the Distraction

...you can beat the email distraction simply by shutting your program. Click To Tweet

Just like social media, you can beat the email distraction simply by shutting your program. Some people don’t check their email every day, which is great. Personally, I don’t have that willpower yet. I check mine twice a day. Once after my first four-hour work session and once at the end of the day.

3. TV/Music

I know, if you work at an office, this may not be a problem. However, for those working from home, having the TV on or playing music, may be more distracting than you think. TV is highly distracting, while music has the ability to change your mood with every new song.

You can get away with listening to some music, while working, but it needs to be classical, upbeat and meant for studying. It shouldn’t have lyrics, as those can be the most distracting part. TV, on the other hand, is the worst background noise possible.

Eliminating the Distraction

Simple. Turn the TV, radio or Pandora off. Don’t play music or keep TV shows running as you try to do work. You will work faster without it and you will have more energy when focusing on just one thing at a time.

...you will have more energy when focusing on just one thing at a time. Click To Tweet

4. Spouse/Kids

I don’t have kids, but I do have a wife. I am sure kids can be very distracting when you work from home, however. My spouse, without even knowing it, can distract me. She works differently than I do, so we have to have boundaries and we have to communicate in order to keep from distracting each other.

Eliminating the Distraction

No, you cannot just eliminate your kids or your spouse. However, you can set up boundaries. I will tell you, a good set of noise-canceling headphones with classical music will do wonders. If possible, shut the door and work without distraction after letting everybody know it’s work time.

If possible, shut the door and work without distraction after... Click To Tweet

You may have to define what an emergency is because your kids and your spouse need to be able to interrupt you if someone is hurt or the house is on fire. However, if it’s not something they would call you at a place of business for; they shouldn’t be knocking on your door at home, either.

5. Other People

For me, this includes people at campgrounds or trying to call my phone. For you, it could be people knocking on your door at home, co-workers in an office or friends thinking you have all day to hang because you work from home. This distraction is one of the worst because you may have to hurt a few feelings to get rid of it.

This distraction is one of the worst because you may have to hurt a few feelings to get rid of it. Click To Tweet

Eliminating the Distraction

This one is all about boundaries. Make it clear what your work hours are and don’t answer the phone. Shut the door, get to work and don’t let others interrupt you. If you can put a buffer between you and others, such as having your spouse answer the door or phone, even better.

6. Phone/Texting/Calling

phone-distraction

I don’t know how many times I have seen people working on a project and they check their phone every single time it goes off. This literally makes you the most distracted person in the world and you will take three times as long to complete your work. If I had employees, I would make them check their phones at the door as this is a huge distraction in the workplace and for those working from home.

Eliminating the Distraction

Me, I turn my phone off. Sometimes, just the ringer, but I turn it off while I am working. If you’re taking regular breaks every hour or so, you can check it then. Most everything that could happen can wait an hour or less for you to respond to.

7. The News

So there’s a hurricane going on in Florida and you’re up in Illinois. Why do you think you need up-to-the-minute updates? Sure, you have relatives there and it might be the worst storm in history (probably not, however). If your relatives haven’t got out and there’s nothing you can do for them right now, why are you paying attention to the news while you’re working?

This distraction is one of the worst because it will not only take you away from your work, but also because most news is depressing and designed to play on your emotions. Do you really want to feel bad and irritated all day long because of the news? Very little productivity comes out of feeling this way.

...most news is depressing and designed to play on your emotions. Click To Tweet

Eliminating the Distraction

Simple. Turn it off! If it’s a weather thing or something that could impact a loved one, check it on your breaks, not during your work. Not much will change from one minute to the next, usually.

8. Gossip

Whether you work from home or you work in an office, you can get caught up in the gossip distraction. It can get you through text, online messengers, articles, TV and so many other ways. In fact, it may be the reason you just spend an hour on Facebook while this article was sitting up in tab #42 on your browser and you’re just now getting to it.

Eliminating the Distraction

Adopt a no gossip policy. Click To Tweet

Adopt a no gossip policy. Gossip is judgement and it’s one of the worst kinds. You don’t need to be involved in it. Dave Ramsey doesn’t tolerate it in his place of business and neither should you. Don’t be a part of the problem. Be a part of the solution and stop participating.

9. Games

Maybe you play them on your phone, your computer or some other type of system. Games can be a huge distraction as all you can think about is leveling up or building that next whatever. While you may unwind with games, they can quickly creep into your work and kill productivity.

Eliminating the Distraction

I am not going to tell you to stop playing games, but that was my answer to this problem. Instead, schedule time for it so that your mind can get out of gaming mode and back into work mode.

10. Articles/Online Content

Content, in general, even this article, could be a huge distraction for you. It could be the reason you’re losing precious time on a project that was due yesterday. So many times, we get sucked into reading an article and we want to learn more, so we Google the subject and find ten more articles to read. After all, it’s easier to read an article than do some real work, right?

Eliminating the Distraction

Use your bookmarks to save things for the appropriate time. If you know you don’t have 10 to 15 minutes to read the article or watch the video, don’t do it. Set a timer for pockets of time when you can allow yourself to enjoy the content instead of letting it be a distraction.

Distractions are time and focus killers. Click To Tweet

There are several other things that could be added to this list, but these are the main ones I see and deal with. Distractions are time and focus killers. The best solution is simply setting up your schedule to allow for things, such as social media and email. Then, set a timer and when it goes off, you’re done. Move on and get back to the project you’re working on.

Have you struggled with any of the above distractions? What about something not on the list? Tell me how you dealt with it in the comments below.

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