Our lives are filled with distractions. They keep us from remaining focused on everything we have to accomplish. Distractions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes; and without the proper tools, they’ll take over our daily productivity.
Let’s say you have deadline looming for a large project, but an impromptu meeting interrupts your day. Maybe you have that family vacation planned and work calls you in the day you’re supposed to leave. You get sucked in by a video on Youtube and forget all about that project with little time to complete it.
I’ve been writing about productivity and making sure we keep our priorities in-check. In recent weeks, I’ve not been as productive as I should be. The main reason, I’ve not been pro-active about creating my to-do lists. Because of this realization, I decided it was time to write about keeping distractions at bay.
Distractions in our work-day are akin to texting while driving. It will cause more harm than good. I want to give you 5 distraction-crushing things you can do to live more productive each week.
Begin each day in meditation.
I don’t know about you, but for myself, I have a hard time finding a quiet moment in my day to meditate. Yet, I find the times I meditate and pray, my day runs smoother and I get more done.
But why should we take time to meditate and pray.
We find in Joshua 1:8 where God said to Joshua, ”Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night… the you will be prosperous and successful.”
When most think about meditation, they think about something mystical with keeping their mind and heart open. While there may be a grain of truth within that statement, meditation in the Bible deals with the art of meditating on the precepts of God.
It’s not a mind-emptying exercise. Meditation is something that allows us to connect our heart with God so we can accomplish our tasks for each day. It’s asking God to take his part in our day.
If you really want to take your meditation to the next level, read this post I did about how time outside makes us rich in spirit.
Stick close your to-do list.
I’ve written before about the importance of a to-do list by using a task-management system. Nothing is more distracting than not having a list to structure your work day.
Now, I have to be transparent here, I have not been following my own advice as of late. Truth to tell, it’s difficult for most people to remain consistent with utilizing a to-do list. If you want to truly take your work-ethic to the next level–by using a task-management system–stick close to your lists.
I find, when I am consistent with–creating a to-do list–it, I’m able to accomplish more in a single day. In-fact, my favorite app Producteev reminded me to write this post. Whether you utilize an app, online program, whiteboard or plain paper take the time to write down your agenda for the day.
Accomplish the big projects first, followed by the menial tasks. If you follow this philosophy, your day will become less distracted and more productive.
Block off your day into chunks.
This may seem like using a to-do list, I promise, it’s not. In-fact, it uses your task list to create a more proactive day. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by a project I’m working on, I need to block off time so my day becomes manageable. This includes scheduling unscheduled time.
Block off unscheduled time so that you’re not interrupted and people won’t intrude with meetings. I’ve found these times help me keep focused on what needs to get accomplished and gives me the freedom to structure my day as I see fit.
Several months ago, I created an ideal week spreadsheet. Maybe I’ll write about that soon. In this spreadsheet, I created time-slots for personal development, meditation and weekly priorities and projects. This way, I can remain focused on each project that must get done every week.
I guarantee if you take time to break your day into chunks by scheduling your unscheduled time, you’ll be more productive, get more done and gain more time to do the things you love. You’ll notice the unscheduled times in grey.
Don’t allow any Ad-hoc meetings to limit your productivity.
Meetings will kill your productivity. You can’t escape them altogether. There are things you can do to limit their impact on your day/week. While there’s nothing you can do to limit the planned meetings, you can do something about ad-hoc/impromptu meetings.
I have blocked out two hours a week for ad-hoc meetings. Those days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If someone wants to meet on Monday, Thursday or Friday, I tell them I can schedule either next Tuesday or Wednesday. And, those meetings are 60 minutes.
This doesn’t mean every week I have an impromptu meeting during those times, it just means I’ve set the time aside for those moments that require one. Our number one goal is to get as much done in the time God has given us. If we use all our time for meetings, our projects will pile up and nothing will get accomplished.
Know your priorities when you’re at work and when you’re at home.
There are two places we exist; one is at home the other is at the office. It’s easy for one to leak into the other. or most people it’s the office leaking into the home environment. I’ve made this a non-negociable in our house that family is my top priority.
I am fully aware that there are times when work has to come first, but that doesn’t mean I neglect my family.
If you truly want to be successful in your family, you have to make sure that you know what your priorities are. I have made the choice that when I’m at home I make sure the office stays at the office. Even though I bring my computer home each night, I limit my work until the next day.
When it comes to this website, writing and podcasting, I wait until my family goes to bed, or on Fridays, before I do any writing/recording. This is so I can spend as much time investing into my family so they can succeed in their lives.
It’s not about me, it’s about them.
Here’s the deal, if you don’t have your life in the proper order you won’t accomplish the goals you have set. I encourage you to write down your priorities. Here’s my list, use it, massage it and make it your own.
- God – Everything in my life revolves around my relationship with God. He must come first in every area of my life.
- Myself – This may seem egotistical, but it’s not. If I don’t take care of my health, well-being, mental development I won’t be able to take care of any other area of my life.
- Wife – Kari is everything to me. My relationship with her is so vitally important to what I do. I relish in her unwavering support and encouragement.
- My Daughter – For those who have kids, they become your whole world. Every little detail of their lives are so dependent upon you. If I don’t invest into my daughter, someone else will, and I guarantee that I won’t like the results.
- Work – This is where the rubber meets the road. If work invades any other area of my life, I’m too busy. I make sure to keep a distance between work and family. Remember, family always comes before work.
- Everything else – This includes friends, hobbies or anything that vies for my attention and takes it away from my relationship with God and my family.
If you keep a list similar to this, you’ll find a more ordered and structured life. We too often live with distractions that weigh us down and keep us from fulfilling our purpose and finding our voice. If you remain focused, use this list to find purpose and a distraction-free life.
Question: How do you remain focused amidst distractions? I’d love to hear your list. Leave a comment by clicking here!