No matter where you work there are constant distractions.
Some are uncontrollable like co-workers, bathroom breaks, phone alerts, etc.
Others are controllable (especially if you work at home or remotely): TV, snacks, chores around the house, etc.
Bottom line: there are distractions EVERYWHERE.
So how to you tune out that “noise” and optimize your performance?
1) Find your “happy place.” Setting has a LOT to do with how much you get done and to what level of quality. For myself I prefer to work at home alone. Sure, there are distractions, but I get the most done there so I schedule pockets of time to do my most important work by myself. Hey, if Happy Gilmore can do it, why can’t you?
2) Know your peak energy levels. If you split the day into mornings, afternoons and evenings, when are you the sharpest? Tasks can usually be split into 3 categories: catch-up (emails, follow-up, etc.), meetings & urgent work. My peak is late morning to early afternoon, so I prefer to meet in the mornings to get my creative juices flowing and give me momentum before doing my most important work. Energy suckers like checking emails can be done around the other two tasks in my opinion. Emails aren’t going anywhere and it’s up to you to decide when to respond. Prioritize based on efficiency.
3) Take short breaks. Think interval training. Go hard for a while, then rest for a short break. Your brain can only handle about 90 minutes of concentrated work without losing focus or making mistakes. When you feel a bit tired or “brain dead,” step away from your desk and take a walk, have a snack or talk to a friend. Breaks are like rest for your brain. Imagine your performance on zero sleep. Your brain needs to rejuvenate too.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense (although as a Lakers fan I can’t stand Mike D’Antoni). If you schedule ahead and prevent distractions, they won’t control you. Create a personalized game plan to get your best work done now! If you need further suggestions, let’s talk!
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