Increasing your productivity doesn’t take a magic wand or require you to get an advanced degree in statistics. If you are struggling with a lack of productivity, you need to take a closer look at your daily habits. Being unproductive is nobody’s fault but your own. It’s time to change for success. Here are some of the top tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to minimize distractions and get more done.

Tip #1 – Learn to Anticipate Yourself

When it comes to productivity, you’re your own worst enemy. According to a study by the University of California Irvine, office workers are only able to focus on a task for an average of three minutes and five seconds before they become distracted. Surprisingly, 44 percent of those distractions are internal. The good news is that internal disturbances are the only kind that you can control. Learn to know your patterns and plan for these distractions.

Tip #2 – Send Out Busy Signals

More than half of your distractions are external distractions that come in the form of email, people, phone calls, and chatter from other offices. If you want to stop these external distractions before they start you have to give out the right signals. If you utilize instant messenger, set yourself too busy and wear headphones, even if you aren’t listening to music. Providing subtle queues may seem passive aggressive, but they will also save you from annoying distractions.

Tip #3 – Make Technology Work for You

At times, technology may seem like an enemy, but technology can be your anti-distraction buddy. Turn off your email alerts, create an auto-response to text messages, and set your phone to go to voicemail. Block out chunks of time on your calendar as “busy.” Unless you are dealing with life and death situations at work, your coworkers will be able to manage without you for a few hours. Maybe put your phone in another room so you are not tempted into checking on the latest news alerts or Instagram. I love my phone like the rest of society but I also get lost in checking out Youtube or Facebook. It’s best to figure out a time to set aside on getting work done without your phone distracting you every 2 minutes.  In fact, one study shows it takes about 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things after you’ve been interrupted. I have to say 25 minutes is a lot of time to waste just to get back on track. The bottom line, remove temptation.

Tip #4 – Learn to Say No

If you are already overloaded with work and you feel like you never get anything accomplished, then you need to learn to say no to new requests and projects. You can nicely let people know that you would love to help, but your plate is currently full. Don’t feel guilty saying no because at the end of the day you need to focus on your happiness and stress level. Adding another project on your to-do list is probably not the best idea at the moment in staying productive on your own tasks and projects.

If you are starting to have more and more unproductive days, it’s time for you to determine your distractions and put a stop to them. By being proactive, silencing technology, and learning to say no, you will find that you will start to become more productive.

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