With so much of our work now carried out on computers, there are endless possible distractions. Some of these we can't help, but there are also a lot we can control or at the very least nullify. For most people, if we were to ask what their number one distraction was, they would probably reply, "the internet". However, in a large number of jobs access to the internet is essential. Lots of professions now require employees to maintain websites, email clients, look up local and global trends, research, and share information. So, unfortunately, for many, saying "just go offline" won't cut it.
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Bruna Martinuzzi, on the American Express open forum, outlined 12 productivity tips from or based on the practices of entrepreneurs (the 12 tips are listed here, but go to the author's name link provided above for an overview and some motivating quotes).
- Have a single purpose focus (Eric Schmidt)
- Ruthlessly block out distractions (Martina Navratilova)
- Set a strict time limit on meetings (Carlos Ghosn)
- Set up productivity rituals (Tony Schwartz)
- Get up earlier (Jeff Immelt)
- Group your interruptions (David Meyer)
- Outsource personal chores (Alexis Ohanian)
- Set up email rules to maintain sanity (Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna)
- Capture all creative ideas (Dr Linus Pauling)
- Increase your effectiveness through technology
- Don't lose it: Read it later
- Learn from others
All of these tips are aimed at helping improve focus; cut out the things that don't matter - at least, the things that don't matter at that point in time - and dedicate your time and consideration the things that do. The better we become at limiting the demands placed on our attention from extraneous things, the easier it is to centre on the task at hand. We could probably all stand to follow at least one of these tips; after all, nobody's perfect!
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