What’s the biggest distraction you face on a daily basis and how do you avoid or overcome it so you can maintain productivity?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Fear and Anxiety
When you’re worrying about something, it really distracts you. When something is clearly bothering me, if I can move it to my immediate tasks, I do so. If I cannot, I pull out a notebook, write down exactly what is bothering me, what my action plan is and what the possible solutions are. This way I can write out my concerns and form a plan. This gets it out of the way and helps me focus.
2. The Phone
My phone is without a doubt my biggest distraction. Every time I hear or feel it go off, I instinctively grab it out of my pocket. I’ve managed to solve this problem by putting my phone on silent and locking it in my desk at the start of the day. It might sound extreme, but this method has boosted my productivity and helps me stay focused throughout the day.
3. Secondary Tasks
Secondary tasks are a distraction. In the past, I would be busy with activities until the day was over, but I always seemed to catch up. Then I found out I wasn’t consistently working in the three most important activities in my business. So now I start my day with listing five important things I have to accomplish and start with the three most important of the five. I’m much more productive as a result.
4. Our Instant Society
The biggest distraction is the “instant society” we find ourselves living in. There is an expectation that we are available quickly and easily with social media, text messaging, instant chat apps, etc., which leaves no time for deep work. Carving out deep work time is critical, and creating a system to let your colleagues know when you’re busy is key. Create your own work boundaries for focus.
5. TikTok and Instagram
Tiktok and instagram are my biggest distraction. With all these amazing content creators and entertaining viral videos, I simply can’t stop watching! I maintain my productivity by simply setting time blocks. For example, I specifically set aside 30 minutes in which to post my own content. Then I set another 15 minutes to engage back with my audience. Lastly, another 15 minutes is set to consume other creators’ content.
As an entrepreneur and business leader, I’m pulled in multiple directions at once every day. This means I’m often juggling multiple tasks at once, leading to my worst “distraction” — multi-tasking. To combat this, I block off work times in my calendar and only focus on those specific things (e.g. meetings, work, phone calls, emails, training, lunch, etc.).
Emails are the biggest distractions there are. It can seem like there are so many important blog posts to read, offers to take up or events to join. It’s very important to have a strict time period for checking emails and to not open your email app outside of that time. A “quick check” can turn into a venture down the rabbit hole. Instead, focus on your actual tasks and save your emails for later.
8. Work Chat Channels
I used to find myself getting distracted by our work chat channel multiple times a day. Several times a day, I’ll get asked to comment on a statement or question. I had to carve a section out of my day to respond to people on our Slack channel. When I went back and forth every time someone tagged me in a question or comment, I had a hard time getting things done.
9. Background Noise
Background noise can be a productivity killer for me. It can impact my focus and concentration. If I can’t get away from the source of the noise, I’ll try putting on noise-canceling headphones or ear plugs, or sometimes I’ll turn on a noise generator app for some pink or brown noise, which allows me to focus on the task at hand.
10. Hunger and Thirst
Being hungry or thirsty are distractions for me. Preparing my daily meals takes a lot of my time. Whether I order out or make my own food, prepping food makes me stall and affects my productivity. This is why I prepare meals a day before and make sure I have enough food for the next day. I also leave out water tumblers everywhere around my house or office to remind myself to hydrate and avoid getting thirsty all the time.
11. House Chores
It’s difficult to ignore everything that has to get done around the house when you work from home. Maybe it’s a leaky pipe or taking the dogs out, but these things take up time you could spend working. I think it’s important to remember that those tasks are just as important as your work tasks. When you view them with the same importance, it’s easier to balance the two and remain productive.