How to Professionally Curb 6 Common Workflow Distractions

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Being your own boss requires consistent focus and dedication to run your business successfully. However, your clients, teams, family and co-working friends demand your attention, too! 

Although you have a workflow in place that suits you, sometimes these interruptions or poor planning send you off track and you wind up not getting as much done. Needless to say, it’s time for you to implement a few boundaries. 

Here’s how you can professionally curb 6 common workflow distractions: 

How to Say ‘No’ to Common Distractions

Whether it’s online, or in your physical environment, take back your time and focus with these common productivity-busters.

1. Notification Pings

Be proactive and temporarily use the Do Not Disturb mode on your cellphone and mute pop-up notifications on your computer to pause alerts. 

With that in mind, first, let your team know when you will be going dark. Maybe it’s every morning for the first three hours of your day, or each afternoon immediately after lunch. No matter what, schedule set downtime and stick to it so others will know what to expect from you and you can get your work done at your own pace. 

2. Overscheduling Yourself

When your workload is unreasonable, it feels like you’re not being productive enough. 

An overbooked calendar is a mental distraction. It drains your focus and ultimate output, according to Healthline.

To solve this, step back and evaluate your daily task load. Is it feasible? If not, get your workflow to actually flow. This might mean talking to your partners honestly about expectations, workload and deadlines to find a better balance.

3. Random Phone Calls

Even quick two-minute calls from friends count as distractions. Why? They take you away from your active work tasks and make it harder to get back into the mental groove.

Time reports that even having your cellphone within sight while working can cause you not to focus on your work because it triggers thoughts of the “broader social community” and makes you wonder what others are doing.

To combat these potential distractions, establish open communication hours in your day so others know the best times to reach you. Think of these as virtual office hours for clients and work breaks when family and friends can catch-up.

Then leave the phone in your bag or another room when it’s not actively in use!

4. Environmental Distractions

Whether you work from home, in a co-working space or a busy office, the things around you can be disruptive.

Can you close your office door to keep noise out and signal that you need solo time for focused work? Can you move to a more quiet space within your environment, like an unused boardroom or empty office? 

Do what you need to do to create the optimal workspace.

5. Social Media Feeds

Schedule blocks of time each day to check on your business accounts, then don’t linger.

If you find yourself staring at a funny cat video or replying to your neighbor’s request for your famous apple pie recipe, log off and tackle it after hours.

Although you may use social media to market your Programming & Tech services, switching between tasks often (like checking social channels every 15 minutes) makes it harder to mentally return to your primary task.

6. Office Clutter

A quick shout out to the Marie Kondo craze; a tidy space helps you focus and be more productive. 

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to get rid of snack wrappers, water bottles and clutter. You can also reorganize your bookshelves and filing cabinets to encourage space and organization. 

Are others leaving their stuff in your area? Kindly remind them you like your workspace to be clutter-free so you can focus on your projects.

Take the Reins and Get More Productive

Be open and communicate with those around you and yourself. 

Establishing boundaries that enhance your workday, whether they’re external or personal, lets you shine as the true professional you are.

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Matt Clunan
Matt is a Director of Brand Marketing at Fiverr. He has 8+ years of experience in brand and digital marketing, working in technology and sports.