We’ve all been there. We have a big deadline for our business, but we can’t seem to stay focused.
Maybe there was major breaking news and the 24/7 news cycle has us enthralled. Or maybe people keep texting and private messaging you. Or Twitter could be blowing up.
Whatever it is, one thing is true: We now live in a world with constant interruptions. Not only that, but we’ve essentially given people permission to interrupt us because we’re all so easily accessible.
This begs the question – how can we possibly stay focused on the things that matter? Here are X tips to help you out.
Set the boundary.
When it comes to getting and staying focused, we actually have most of the power to decrease interruptions in our lives. One way to exercise that power is to set clear boundaries with people.
For example, let’s say you’re working on a book. This usually requires that you stay focused for large stretches of time. As such, you need to let people know that they won’t be able to reach you.
You can also exercise this power with smaller tasks. For example, if my best friend is sending me private messages on Facebook, I’ll sometimes let her know I have to go work for a bit and I’ll be back online when I’m done. She’ll do the same with me.
You can also set boundaries with your actions. After all, how many of us get derailed from a project when another client emails us? First of all, you should wait to respond anyway so that you craft a thoughtful message that isn’t reactive. Second, by not responding right away, you let your clients know you are not available at their beck and call.
Put your phone in another room.
The apps on our phone our purposely made with the intention of getting us addicted. Between likes, pings and notifications, we’ve basically become a society that is addicted to being interrupted.
While there are now apps on the market that are supposed to help with your app addiction, the jury is still out on whether or not that’s the best idea. That’s why your best chance is to just keep your phone out of your sight.
For example, I use a Skype number for business calls to let there be a separation between my mobile phone and my work. This allows me to physically put my phone in another room so I can focus on the task at hand.
Use tools to help you.
There are several tools you can use with your computer that will help you stay focused. For example, SelfControl for Mac will block whatever website on a list for a set period of time. I use this whenever I know I need to focus on a big project and want to avoid going on YouTube.
Once you’ve handled what you can control, your ability to stay focused just depends on you. By eliminating as many interruptions as you can, you significantly increase your chances of buckling down and getting some work done.