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September 6, 2016

Down with Distractions

The key to being positively productive is the ability to concentrate on the task at hand to the exclusion of everything else. Laser focus gets things done. Despite your best efforts, however, distractions will draw away your attention. Are any of these familiar?shutterstock_250820347

  • Your e-mail notice pings, and you drop what you’re doing to check it.
  • Your phone rings, and you answer it instead of letting it go to voice mail.
  • A colleague strolls by, and you stop what you’re working on for a quick chat.

These distractions don’t seem like much, but you lose about 20 minutes each time your attention wanders. That’s the amount of time it takes to regain your focus.  Is that distraction worth the lost productivity?

Here are three tools to help you say “no” to distractions.

  • Unless your job requires you to answer e-mail when it comes in or the phone when it rings, stop. Set specific times during the day to check and take care of both tasks. This eliminates them as a distraction and saves time when you actually address them.
  • Don’t let yourself be interrupted. Be assertive about your time. If someone drops into your office or cubicle, explain that you can’t talk now and set a time to meet later. See my blog post Take Charge of Interruptions.
  • Honor your work cycle. Most people find it hard to concentrate after about 50 – 60 minutes, and if you force yourself to keep going, your focus plummets. You will be less productive. Build in regular stretch breaks throughout the day. When you return to your desk, your focus will once again be high.


Take charge of your time and don’t allow distractions to derail you. Use these tools to remain focused and strengthen your ability to concentrate in order to be more positively productive. See my blog post Focus Produces Results for more information

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