Texts, emails, phone calls, snapchats and Facebook messages are constantly taking focus away from your work. But these 7 tips will keep you on track all day long – and no, you don’t have to turn off your phone completely.

This is how you do it

Did you know that small annoyances and disruptions cost you 1/3 of your work day?

In practice, it means that you waste millions of pennies in lost working hours because you and your employees are distracted. Actually, interruptions waste up to 70 full working days a year. Yes, 70 days every year! (Source: Basex research for Xerox)

Think about it. You waste salary and time, and you could instead invest it in your employees and yourself. And you could spend a few hours with your family and friends and still be on top of your schedule.

Would you like to gain more productivity from your employees without making too many changes? And would you like to be a more structured manager? These 7 simple, hands-on tips will make your day much more efficient – and much less stressed:

 

1. Email alerts: Remove email pop-ups. For instance, in Outlook, go to File – Options – Mail – and tick off the box named Display a Desktop Alert. This will make sure your eye is not distracted by what’s going on at the bottom of the screen and you don’t have a sudden urge to leave your screen.

2. Emails/Texts: Make it a habit to only check emails and texts 3 times a day – for instance at 09, 12 and 3.30 o’clock. Spend 15-30 minutes checking your inboxes and reply. And then go back to work.

3. Messenger: Put your Messenger, Lync, Hipchat or whichever internal chat function you use on “away” or “busy” when you are occupied – and don’t reply to any chats popping up. Unless it says that the building is on fire.

4. Focus: Daily set aside 1-2 hours when you don’t want to be disturbed; plug in your earphones or leave the office and find another place to sit.

5. Prioritise: In the morning, make a prioritsed plan of things you need to do today and things that can wait until tomorrow. That way, it will be easier for you to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ignore unimportant emails. You can always adjust your plan in case something urgent lands in your inbox, but start by sticking to your original list of important tasks.

6. Use the word ‘no’: Politely say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this today’ or ‘No thank you.’ You need to stick to your list, then the frequency of interruptions and overtime will decrease.

7. Phone: Put your phone on silent and only accept calls from very important people – your superiors, your suppliers, perhaps your wife/husband.You know the list of people you need to stay in contact with to get your job done.

This blog post was written by Søren Ellegaard from Train Company. Søren’s expertise is within personal efficiency training.

What do you find most disturbing during the day? And what do you do about it?

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Lisa Andersen
Lisa Andersen Content Editor
Part of Planday’s content team in Copenhagen, Lisa is into yoga and loves good writing. Her experience includes working with communication and PR for international grassroots organizations in Argentina and Bolivia.