What is something you do after every six minutes, on average, while you are at work? According to a study by HR Daily Advisor, the answer is: stop what you are doing to check your email, instant message app, or other tools.
While technology has improved our productivity in multiple ways, the demerits to having so several easy-to-use tools at our fingertips are that they can be super distracting. Add the lure of social media and all the ways it develops “FOMO” (fear of missing out), and your computer and smartphone could be the most significant obstacles to you getting your work done.
Given, we understand a technological interference may be the reason you are reading this post. But since you are here, keep reading for our tips to reduce these kinds of diversions at work—and then try one of them out to see if you can break the six-minute cycle.
Limit your time on social media
There’s nothing wrong in using social media apps to take a short recess during lunch if your company allows it. However, difficulties arise when checking your social media feeds during the day becomes a way to delay.
Not sure if you are over-using social media apps at work? Keep a notepad by your device and mark each time you go on a social media network during the day. If you visit various websites a day, track your visits to each site to see if any of them is taking up more of your precious time than the others. Do not judge yourself as you mark each holiday; this is just an information-gathering exercise.
After one day or one week of time tracking, how do you feel about the effects? If you are astounded to see how much time you spend on social media sites, it is possible that you are unintentionally turning to these websites to avoid doing work.
To restrict your time on social media networks, you can make a small change, such as logging out your accounts at work so that you can not get sidetracked with just one click, or try a program like FocusMe or the StayFocused Chrome Extension, which can require a time limit on specific sites or block them entirely.
Limit notifications on your computer or phone
One reason why we turn to technology so frequently during the day is that we get a notification for a new message or update. As soon as the notification sound goes off or a warning pops up on your screen, we feel coerced to check it out, and then it may take a while to get back into the rhythm of whatever we’re working on before.
But most of the time, we don’t need to know about a new message or update the moment it happens.
On your system, you can generally customize your official email to notify you of new messages with a beep, a pop-up on the screen, and an icon on the taskbar. The latter is the least disruptive, so try applying only that setting for a few days and see if it helps your time management get better without harming your ability to do your job well. Also, think about reducing or eliminating notifications for computer apps you may have running in the background; such as social media websites, calendars, or reminder tools.
On your phone, you may require to go through each app separately to customize the notification settings. If you are prone to looking at your phone during the day, think of blocking notifications from showing up on your lock screen.
There may even be a few notifications you can get rid of altogether. For instance, do you want breaking news alerts from various news organizations, all cluttering your device screen?
Go cell phone-less at work (if you can)
The best way to prevent phone-related distractions is to not have your cellphone in front of you during the workday. Going without your cell phone at work may not be possible if you are a primary caregiver for someone or if you need always to be reachable for any reason. But if you don’t fall into either of those categories, think long and hard about whether having your cell phone on your desk, buzzing throughout the day, is merely helping you stay connected or hurting your time management.
If going without your phone all day sounds like too big of a step, start small. For example:
- Put your phone in a desk drawer when you get to work in the morning and hold off on checking it until lunchtime;
- Leave your cell phone at your desk the next time you attend a meeting so you can stay focused on the meeting; or
- Experiment with the “mute” setting on your email and messaging apps, which may allow you to mute messages for a few hours at a time.
If you are concerned that people will bother when they do not hear back from you right at the moment, you could set an auto-reply in your messaging app which says, “I’m at work and won’t check my messages until [INSERT TIME].” Then, gradually, you may be able to work yourself up to go without your phone for the whole day.