How to prevent small things from interrupting your day

There are distractions everywhere. Whether you’re working from a home office or an external office, it’s easy for the mind to wander and disrupt you from finishing whatever it is you’re doing. Knowing how to effectively manage yourself and your time is among the most challenging things to learn. But keeping on track and avoiding disruptions throughout your day can be difficult. Below are some ideas to prevent the small stuff from throwing you off course.

Prioritize

From emails to phone calls – these can easily disrupt your workflow and divert attention away from a task you were previously focused on. To ensure that important items on your to-do list are done by the end of the day, it’s a good idea to prioritize. Here’s how to do it:

  • Consolidate all your most important duties in a single list or app.
  • Mark tasks by those that need to be done immediately, those that can be completed later, those that can be reassigned to someone else, and those that can be removed from the list.
  • Then pick a single item to focus on.
  • Lastly, be ruthless in getting through your list.

Get away from the multi-tasking mindset

Multi-tasking may sound like a good idea, but it rarely works. The human brain wasn’t designed to multi-task. Switching between tasks constantly actually tends to waste more time. That’s because our short-term memory isn’t as great as it would need to be for highly effective multi-tasking. You’ll end up with plenty of items that were half-finished on that list of yours.

Stick to the list

There are different methods to improve your self-management but most of them will advise that you stick to your priority list. If a client calls, offer to call them back later. If your boss needs you to do something, add it to your list. Remember that task management isn’t an entirely rigid affair either. It’s a good idea to remain somewhat flexible on a weekly basis. But you’ll want to stick to your list on a day-by-day basis.

Tune out distractions

One other way to keep distractions at bay is to tune them out completely. Log out of your email, turn off your phone, close the blinds. Whatever it is you need to do to help you finish your tasks without distraction, do it. Other ways to shut out noise and distractions include logging out of social media and turning off notifications from chat apps and news apps.

Nick Williams: Nick Williams works for Acuity Training in the UK and helps on their time management training courses. Acuity also have a range of technical courses including advanced excel training.