Maintain momentum by keeping distractions at bay.
It’s so easy to get distracted at work these days. The internet, thanks to social media, is the most obvious culprit. Falling down rabbit-holes has become such a momentum killer that one subtle misstep or misdirection can throw your entire day into disarray. Meaningless distractions can crush productivity and perpetuate procrastination—and you’ll wish you had that precious time back when deadlines begin to creep in.
The truth is that it happens to the best of us, but there are ways to prevent it from growing roots in your routine. The first step is holding yourself and others accountable in the workplace before the noise amplifies and starts to prevent you from making progress.
Here are four easy ways to stay focused and maintain momentum at work:
Sounds of silence
Turn off your notifications
Is this thing on? It probably is.
It feels impossible nowadays to disconnect. The digital culture of being “always-on” has primed us to react and respond in a robotic-like nature to all notifications—all the time. The fear of missing out (FOMO) has seemingly crippled our ability to sit in a room and simply concentrate.
To break the cycle, force yourself into the habit of turning off your notifications when you can’t be bothered. Also try syncing your calendar with your Do Not Disturb settings, this way your apps and devices will recognize when you’re in a meeting, out of the office, or out of commission.
Furthermore—and this might be the most effective tactic—kindly tell co-workers or clients to be considerate when you need to be left alone. If you don’t speak up you might find yourself inundated with noisy banter or untimely requests. Don’t let always being turned on become a turnoff.
Turn it up, bring the noise
Add ambient sound in the background
Silence is golden but a little ambient noise in the office can actually be a silver lining. Your environment has a massive influence on how you feel and perform, and the right kind of noise can deter the distractions of a busy workplace but also divert the deafness of a dry one.
Apps like Noisli, Calm, and Headspace offer a plethora of pleasing sounds to sample whether you work from home or onsite. White, pink, and brown noise frequencies help block out annoying audio and actually enhance concentration by funneling your focus elsewhere.
Another option is to play light, classical, or jazz music through a wireless speaker or simply turn on the TV. The right kind of background noise can have a dramatic impact on your mood and turn a lonely vibe at home into a productive workplace environment. And if all else fails, throw on a pair of noise cancellation headphones and listen to a motivational podcast that’ll inspire you to get stuff done.
Whatever soundtrack suits your mood, stay out of a productivity rut by getting your team focused and marching to the beat of its own drum.
Don’t wait, integrate
Sync your apps together
When teams communicate, productivity thrives. The same goes for the software we use.
Stacking your apps can help you defeat distraction doom by preventing context switching. If you’re someone who uses Flock for team messaging; Asana or Trello for project management; Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing; understanding the key benefits of deep integration will help you better visualize, organize, and prioritize all of the projects on your plate like a pro.
Integrations turn ordinary users into power users. You’ll never have to leave a conversation or switch back and forth between apps again. Integrations bring productivity to life so you can get more out of the apps you use the most without falling behind and out of sync.
Close apps, mute tabs, and configure extensions
We know all too well that too many open apps and tabs can derail digital workflows. In addition to closing out apps you're not using or muting tabs you no longer need, taking the time to optimize your browser’s configuration can save you a ton of time and aggravation.
Like the deep integrations mentioned above, the beauty of extensions is that they allow you to work smarter in your browser without having to leave. Activate extensions like Session Buddy and OneTab to consolidate all of your open tabs into categories, and use Clipboard History Pro to pin your complete cut-and-paste history to the top of your browser.
App-based extensions like Pocket allows you to bookshelf distracting reads for later on, while Grammarly corrects your writing directly in Gmail and Google Docs. There's also Zoom for quick video chats, and of course, Flock, to start a conversation in messenger.
Maintaining your focus throughout the day is no doubt a challenge. But it’s doable. Done right, open communication and collaboration can and will catapult your productivity, but it can become too much to handle when too many distractions are happening around you.