How Distractions Can Hurt Your Productivity
Being productive is important. It’s how we get things done, how we improve what we’re doing, and how we move up in the world. It’s particularly important at work. When you can prove that you’re a productive, contributing member of the team, your job becomes more secure. From there, you will start to move up in the company. If you’re working for yourself, increased productivity means your business does well and your profits from will hopefully increase. Being more productive also means you have to spend less time on each task. This gives you the freedom to decide what to do with the rest of your day.
The key to being more productive is to focus. When you can concentrate on what you’re doing, you’ll get done more quickly. The enemy of productivity, on the other hand, is distractions. You’ve noticed this yourself. If your phone won’t stop ringing, people stop by your office, or you keep having to deal with emails, it’s hard to get anything done. You constantly have to stop to deal with the distractions. When you get back to work, you have to spend valuable time and effort figuring out what you were doing.
Distractions also hurt your productivity because they get you out of the “flow”. The flow is a special state of hyper-productivity you can get into when you work focused on something without getting distracted. You seem to think faster, type faster, and get through the job much faster than usual. It isn’t easy to get into this flow, but you know when you’re in it. You’re focused single-mindedly on what you’re doing to the point where you’re not even aware of the time until you stop working. You don’t get hungry or thirsty. You sit at your desk and you get things done more quickly and more easily than during your regular work day. These are some of your most productive days.
Are You “in the Flow?”
Sadly, distractions can pull you right out of “the flow” if you can’t ignore them. The random phone call or a person walking into your office will do it. Once you’re out of the flow, it is very hard and sometimes impossible to get back into it. You can see how just one little distraction can have a huge negative impact on your productivity for the day when this happens. It doesn’t even have to be this extreme. A handful of distractions during a regular workday will start to add up and keep you from getting through your to-do list. Eliminating distractions as much as possible, particularly during your most productive hours at work is one of the best things you can do to increase your productivity.