Being productive and getting things done from home isn’t always as easy as it looks. Your creative mind will come up with hundreds of ways to avoid doing things that are too boring, challenging or just unfulfilling. Keep a constant lookout for what some of these avoidance tactics might be and start to battle against them.
Tidying the house
If you see an amazingly clean living room and kitchen, you know there’s something hugely important that someone may be avoiding finishing!
Symptoms include over-labelling things, refilling staplers and stationery drawers and so on.
Sometimes this is, of course, necessary (!) but spending two minutes eating a Wispa bar is easier than doing your work.
Twitter, Internet “research” or shopping
Listening to podcasts under the false impression that spending your attention on something inspirational will move you forward.
“Setting things up”
Fiddling around with some new shiny internet tool or iPad app that needs lots of ‘setting up’ (RSS readers are a good example of this) under the mistaken impression of later time savings and payoff.
Did I hear you say “Umm, I do that”? So exactly how do you wean yourself away from these distractions? Here are 5 top tips to help you on your way…
1. Close down your email as often as possible
Amazing things happen outside of your inbox. In fact, most of the amazing work that you produce happens outside of your inbox.
Most people turn on their email as soon as they arrive in the morning. Turning off your emails, even for just a couple of hours a day or half an hour in each hour, will give you a clearer head and will help you pay attention more easily to the things that really matter.
2. Avoid most meetings you’re invited to
Meetings are a wonderful way to spend time indulging in other people’s priorities rather than your own. Spending all morning in a meeting being a luxury ‘extra brain’ in someone else’s project is a waste of your attention. Where possible, just say “No”.
3. Don’t answer your phone
Phone calls are amongst the worst interruptions. They cost you time and energy, both in dealing with them and in ‘recovering’ from them (those “Oh, where was I again?” conversations that you have to have with yourself once you’re off the call). Voicemail is seriously underrated as a communication medium.
4. Work from somewhere else
Think of places where the atmosphere and scenery are calming, but where there are few distractions (unlike most coffee shops).
Get some air. Get outside and go for a quick walk. The fresh air in your lungs, the movement, the changes in sights, sounds, smells and thought patterns will awaken you again for the next little while.
Photo by Rennett Stowe