If, like most technology users, you’re convinced that you’re a successful multitasker… you’re probably wrong. Multiple studies have shown that multitasking leads to slower and worse performance, and that we simply aren’t as good at it as we think we are.
While it’s now almost universally accepted that texting while driving is often as, if not more, dangerous than drunk driving, many of us still allow ourselves to be distracted by our phones and web browsers when trying to accomplish other tasks.
Whether you’re trying to get your work done, study for an exam, or just getting in some good time with a book, focusing can help you get it done better and faster. Here are some tips for staying on task:
Does your phone buzz at you every time you get a text, tweet or Facebook message? Just turn it off. Disable the social media notifications, and set your phone to Do Not Disturb. Or just silence your cell and put it out of sight.
Close Your Email Client:
Resist the urge to check your emails. Set aside a specific time to go through your inbox, rather than dropping what you’re doing as soon as you see something arrive.
A desktop full of open tabs, notifications and windows can distract you from the task at hand. Close all programs you aren’t using, and refrain from opening up web pages to read “later.” In fact, if you don’t need to, don’t open your web browser at all.
There’s always the option of setting a good old-fashioned egg timer, and forcing yourself to work on whatever you’re doing until it goes off. If your self control doesn’t allow for a solution that simple, try one of these applications:
For Mac: Self Control – Enter in a URL and Self Control will prevent you from accessing it for up to 24 hours. Uninstalling the app won’t disable the timer, either.
For Chrome: Nanny – Block specific URLs, or set timers to restrict how long you can be on a site. You can also have certain sites blocked on just weekdays or during work hours.
For Firefox: LeechBlock – Like Nanny, you can block sites or create timers. LeechBlock will also keep track of the time you spend on your “block” sites, so you can better see where you’re getting distracted.
With these tips, you can minimize the distractions and get that work done – leaving you plenty of time to catch up on Facebook guilt-free!