Previously I wrote a post on the problem of lack of productivity in the workplace. Productivity, as I’m defining it, is the amount of work you get done in a set amount of time. I used the example of 8 hours in a workday being the equivalent of running close to two marathons, meaning it’s a ton of time. In this post I wanted to offer solution #1 to becoming more productive during the work day.
As you can imagine, many productivity killers are not in our control (lack of direction from leaders, interruptions from colleagues, etc) but there is one main productivity killer that is squarely in our control, our ability to FOCUS. In today’s connected world there are many self inflicted tools we use that are distracting us from the very tasks we are trying to focus on. Probably the biggest ones are the Internet, receiving/sending text messages, and receiving phone calls.
Studies show that anytime you get distracted while focusing on something it takes your mind 10 to 20 minutes to get back into the full mode it was in before. And if you are tackling a difficult problem then it could be longer. So focus is important in order to get things done in a shorter amount of time.
My simple suggestion that has worked wonders in my work environment is a nod to Apple. I personally switch my world into “Airplane Mode”.
Airplane Mode, for those that don’t get the reference, is the little slider button on your Apple iPhone that disconnects your phone from the rest of the world (wireless and network access is turned off). By cutting your phone off from those two connections the device becomes nothing more than an iPod, note taker, or for some just piece of metal in your pocket!
If you mimic this same “Airplane Mode” with everything around you, you too will become singularly focused on the task at hand. Here are four VERY easy tips to go into Airplane mode:
- Close your door at your office or go into a quiet area to work (sometimes thats home).
- Turn off your computer’s wifi or unplug the Ethernet cord.
- Turn your phone off.
- Wear headphones (with the right music of course)
From my experience if you can get yourself into this mode there is a high probability your production levels will go up. Try it for one hour and see how you do.