A lot has been said about the constant distractions that negatively impact our productivity.
It’s definitely a problem that I try to tackle and here are a list of things I currently do to minimise any distractions to my work:
1) Turn off all notifications
I’ve turned off all notifications on my desktop computer. I’m not sure why every app now uses desktop notifications to announce things like: “Someone has come online, A new file was added to Dropbox, You have a new email.” – These are the worst forms of distractions as they pop-up every minute and are built-in to all software as default setting. So I manually disallow them on my computer and also on every new computer that I set up for new members of our team. Hard work but worth it!
2) Turn off automatic download of emails
I only accept emails when I’m ready to accept emails. If I am busy responding to another email or talking to a colleague, I don’t need to see that I have new emails coming through – it would take my concentration away from the task I’m working and it won’t add to my productivity. Besides, I know there are emails coming through all the time, so that’s not a reason for me to have an automatic email download in place to see if I have new email. I know I have new email every 5 minutes even without that.
3) Clean desk
I believe that clean desk helps me concentrate on the task that is just in front me. I tend to remove unnecessary clutter even several times a day as I move through different tasks and need different documents for each of them (notes, print outs, even mobile devices we use for testing and other things that appear on my desk throughout the day)
4) Clean desktop and clean inbox
It’s important for me to be able to focus on the task that I’m working on right now which is why I keep my desktop clean; if I save a screenshot on my desktop, I can see which one it is immediately. I don’t have to search for it because my desktop is clean, there are no more screenshots lying around.
I also use ZERO inbox methodology and that helps me be aware of all the emails (=tasks) that are in front of me that day. No searching for an email or forgetting that something has to be done, that’s a waste of time.
5) Turn off all mobile notifications
Similarly with emails and other notifications, I turn off all notifications for all apps on my iPhone too.
What do you do to minimise distractions?