by: Shad Bookout
The world we work in today is noisy… very, very noisy. The endless array of chirps, dings, and notifications that surround us have become the backtrack to our daily lives. And as a result, many of us have become uncontrollably Pavlovian in our reactions to the barrage of digital stimulus.
<ding> I must check who sent that email
<chirp> I must see that text
<beep> Insert social media here
<ring> I wonder who is calling
The distractions are endless. It is amazing that we are able to get anything accomplished. Cutting through the noise and taking back control of your day is imperative to success. These tips are a great place to start.
Single-Tasking is the New Multi-Tasking
Our work cultures have evolved to continuously get more and more done each day, However, by adding more, we are also taking more away. The level of saturation we have now created is no longer helping get more done. In fact, the opposite is true. Stop multi-tasking and become a serial single-tasker. Take one thing, work it for as long as you can, put it away, and then move to the next item. Later on, repeat the process.
Silence is Golden
We are not advocating to unplug entirely for the rest of the day. But the amount of audio stimuli you can successfully mentally manage is a finite number. When working on a priority, turn off the email alerts, put your phone on silent (that means not on vibrate, either), and ask those around you to allow you to succeed. If you can accomplish this for just a few minutes every day, you will be amazed at the volume of things you can eliminate from your must-do list.
Create an Excess of Mindfulness
The term ‘mindfulness’ is thrown around a lot these days and in many of the wrong ways. The term has taken a life of its own that falls far from the true origins of its eastern philosophical roots. Simply put, mindfulness means not letting your emotions hijack your brain. Did a car cut you off in traffic this morning on your way to work? Let it go. A co-worker takes undue credit for the success of that project? Let it go. These are things you cannot control. Just like we react too much to the chirps and dings, we react too much to distracting emotional items that do not need or deserve our attention. Set your mind free to focus on things that matter and that you can control.
Eliminating the things that are getting in your way is the first step to getting ahead at work. Once the positive momentum is there, you will begin to set yourself free, just in time to conquer the next challenge. What other ways can you eliminate the distractions that dominate your world? Let us know in the comments.