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How to stop getting distracted and start your reuse programme!

This quick tutorial is about avoiding distractions at work so you can get stuff done!! We give you take home tips to implement straight away as well as a "not to do" list. 

This video and article is aimed at anyone who works on a project basis at work but especially sustainability , procurement and facilities management officers and managers.



What's the significance of distraction?

When you're distracted, your progress is slow, you don't get the things done you want to get done, you get overwhelmed. When you're overwhelmed, you can't take on any new projects. That is where my interest comes in. I want you to have a clear schedule so that you can start your reuse project!
Some common distractions are phone calls, Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging...other colleagues. When you get distracted, your productivity goes right down. It takes time and energy to switch the different part of your brain on new, different tasks so it really affects how much you actually get done.
The purpose of this presentation is really to give you some take home tips so that you stop getting distracted and then you create the space in your workflow to be able to concentrate on reuse or something new, a new project.
Top Tips
Top Tip #1 Small milestones.
Break down tasks into smaller, distinct units. If it's a large task, it can often be overwhelming and you'll put it off and you'll put it off- it becomes a monster- so just try to break it down into small tiny units where you can tackle it in 60 minutes, half an hour, or half a day. Just focus on that one task, and move things forward.
Top Tip #2 Turn off notifications.
This is obvious, but turn off all of your notifications, all of your emails, all of your smartphone notifications, because what these notifications do is they pop up on your screen or they pop up on your phone and they distract you. You see an email pop up or you see a notification and, "Oo, I'll check that." So you get sucked into that, which takes you off your defined task. And you’ve got to refocus when you realise you have been distracted.
Top Tip #3 Bulk Process.
Bulk processing is another good thing to do. Say, for example, you've got a lot of emails to do, just spend 60 minutes on emails, get those emails done (against a timer), finish, and go onto something else. Batch processing is really good because A, you focus on one task, but B, you're doing the same task again and again and again so you've got these neural pathways, which get used to that task, and it just means the brain is working much more effectively.Other things you may want to batch process are things like voice mails, telephone calls, purchase orders, paperwork, spreadsheet activity, that sort of thing. Batch processing is a really effective use of your time.
Bonus Pro Tip Alert!
Related to batch processing, another thing I like to do, which is really effective, is to field your calls. If you concentrating on something really important, just don't take your calls, divert them to voicemail. You can batch process those voicemails later on. What I also like to do is, and I will go out and walk and talk and I'll do my calls as I'm walking and get you walking around, get you in the fresh air, so that's another good thing.
Top Tip #4 Headphones.
Colleagues are quite high up on the list of distractions: talking to co-workers is 10% of the common distractions in the office. If you work in an office, wear earbuds or headphones, because then colleagues are less likely to interrupt you.
Top Tip #5 Work out of the Office.
Obviously, when you work at the office, there're a lot of distractions that mean you don't get things done. You've got colleagues talking to you, you've got people asking you to come in to meetings, all the sort of things that distract you from your main tasks. So try to work out of the office on certain tasks if you can. Working from home, obviously, is a really good one, but that's a whole other presentation. Even working in a coffee shop or working in a library or whatever. Just get out of that office.
Top Tip #6 Forget your phone.
Another actionable tip is forget your phone. Just for one day or half a day, and you'll see that the world doesn't fall apart and you can get on with things much better without your phone with your notifications going ... Phone calls. Obviously this applies to certain job tasks, and I know, some jobs you need your phone, but if you can forget your phone, forget it.
The Not To Do List
Do not turn your PC or laptop on without a plan.
If you don't have a plan, it's really easy to open your laptop and then just get distracted by whatever pops up in your face and that can distract you for an hour, a half an hour, or even half a day.
Do not have your email client open.
If you have your email client open, you'll get notifications and you'll just be tempted to deal with emails because it may be a bit easier than the task you're working on. So close your email down.
Do not multi-task.
When you multitask, you do a number of things all subpar. If you focus on one thing, you do that to the best of your ability and you focus on that one thing, get it done as far as you can, and the go to the next thing. Do not multitask. Also, that means, close all your tabs.
Do not work without a break!
For me, I find between 40-45 minutes, I work for, and then I need a break so, when I go to a break, I'll have a cup of tea or I'll do some stretching or I'll go up and down the stairs or if I'm feeling really energetic, I'll do some star jumps or I might go out and do some calls.
Tools to help you avoid distraction
I use a thing called Momentum. It's a Chrome browser extension so you've got to use the Chrome browser. What Momentum does is if you try to change tabs on your PC or laptop, the browser tabs, it'll give you a little reminder of your focus for that period.
Egg Timer is an online timer, which gives you a certain amount of time and then an alarm goes off so what that does is that refocuses your efforts or reminds you to take a break.
Stay Focused
Stay Focused is a great tool for blocking certain sites.  You can block Twitter for a certain amount of time, you can block Linkedin, you can block all manner of sites, which helps keep you focused.
That is quite a bit to take in but I hope you can take just oe of these tips away to increase your impact and make alittle time for yourself!
What are your top tips for avoiding distraction? Tell me in the comments below!

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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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