5 Tips to Increase Focus and Cut Down on Digital Distractions

  • July 13, 2021
  • Author: Keith Young

Technology is a powerful tool in many ways, but like everything else, it must be used in moderation. 

Your phone connects you to the world and lets you keep in touch with family and friends, but it can also draw you away from them if you’re always checking your social media feed at the dinner table.

Likewise, your work computer enables you to work far more efficiently than you ever could without it, but it can also distract you from work if you let it.

Technology isn’t good or evil – it’s just a tool. But forming a healthy relationship with it is the only way to control it – rather than having it control you.

Here are five tips to start right now.

1. Email Filters

It’s difficult to truly keep “on top of” your email. With all kinds of messages coming in from different places, you’d have to dedicate most of your time to checking emails if you wanted to read every message as it comes.

A lot of the messages you’ll get in a typical workday might not be related to your work at all. Perhaps you’re subscribed to a health newsletter that sends bi-weekly news, or you’re waiting for an item to become available on Amazon. These messages are only going to hurt your productivity, and ideally you should wait until you’re off work to read them.

With many email services such as Gmail, you have the option to filter messages into specific folders or tabs as they come in. Take advantage of this feature and sort your messages by type. This way you can click on your “work” tab and know you won’t get distracted by any messages you find inside.

2. Take advantage of do not disturb

Do not disturb blocks out call and message notifications, making it easy to focus on the task at hand. Make the most of this feature and use it to zero in on your work whenever you need to.

If need be, you can also allow certain apps or contacts to override the do not disturb feature, so you can still get notified of really important messages.

3. Only use devices needed for the task at hand

How much time do you spend out of your work time on a device that isn’t meant for work – such as your cell phone? Do you need to have your cell phone on your desk at all?

Having a device next to you that can only offer distraction at all times is a recipe for disaster. 

Consider turning on priority-only notifications and putting devices somewhere out of sight. This way you’ll still be reachable in case of an emergency, but you won’t be constantly fighting the urge to check your phone. 

Put away any devices that you don’t need for your current task. It’ll work wonders for your focus.

4. Avoid Multitasking

Switching tasks rapidly may seem like a good idea for keeping ahead of things, but it can actually be heavily detrimental to your productivity.

Every time you switch tasks, your brain undergoes a 2-stage process. 

The first stage is called goal shifting, where you decide to complete a different task. 

The second stage is called rule activation, where you “turn off” the rules for the previous task in your mind, and “turn on” the rules for the current one.

This process doesn’t take long, but if you’re constantly switching tasks, the numbers will add up quickly. 

And if you’re actually doing multiple tasks at once, it’s far worse. Studies have shown that your IQ can actually drop when multitasking during a cognitive task – by up to fifteen points! That’s a big problem.

Even if you’re getting two things done at once, you’re not going to be able to do either of the tasks as well as you can. Do things one at a time – even if it means you take a bit longer to respond to an email or take a call.

5. Trim down the number of digital tools that you use

Jumping from tool to tool is detrimental to productivity, but most people have a big list of them that keeps on growing, and they jump more and more frequently. A closer look at your own list could reveal something interesting – a lot of the tools you use in day-to-day life probably have overlapping features. 

For example, you may have two separate apps for chat and for video conferencing. Then you discover that your chat application also has a video conferencing feature built in. 

Now you can get rid of your video conferencing tool, and get both features from the same source. Try going through all your digital tools and search for overlapping features. You might be surprised by how few of them you actually need! 

An All-in-One Solution

Our cloud phone solution combines many tools into one all-encompassing solution for your business. You won’t have to switch tools, everything will be in one place. 

Get in touch with us today if you’d like to know more!

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