What can be so distracting when there isn't much to do in the outside world? How can we stay productive and focused when the devices we use to communicate and work are the very same ones that distract us from completing our tasks? Here are a few tips on how to stay on-task in this day & age:
1. Set smaller goals
This is not to say you shouldn't dream big! But breaking down your goals into more manageable, bite-sized pieces can help these goals feel less daunting. Whilst a goal like 'get fitter' may seem impossible and abstract, something like 'run 2 miles this morning' feels achievable. Each smaller goal can be achieved in less time, and you have less reason to say 'I don't have time to do this now!'
2. Plan out your days intentionally
Especially when in lockdown, it is crucial to mark off your time in order to stay productive. When each day feels identical you start to lose my motivation, so it is important to mix up the tasks you have to do as much as possible.
Blocking off time in my calendar to complete tasks will help you to mentally visualize how much time you have and what you need to complete each day — become more productive by setting time aside each day to work on specific tasks. At the end of the day, also aim to plan out the next day so you can go to bed aware of what needs to be accomplished tomorrow.
3. Take breaks
You're most productive when you intentionally give yourself breaks (to go on walks, to spend time with loved ones, etc). You subconsciously savor these breaks as rewards for completing tasks and staying focused, which helps me feel less burned out at the end of a long day.
Be mindful of what activities you want to be doing while on a break, though, as not all break-time activities will leave you equally refreshed and ready to go back to work.
Scrolling on social media, while fun, will often leave you annoyed when I have to go back to focusing. Folding laundry, or making coffee, however, have natural ends at which point it makes sense to go back to work.
Your phone can be your biggest productivity tool and distractor simultaneously – we've all been there. Turning off notifications from non-essential apps can help remove some of these distractions, but perhaps you've found yourself clicking on Instagram or Reddit on autopilot. If that's the case, deleting these apps from your home screen or using Opal to block these apps from connecting to the Internet is a good idea.