Last week I touched on how to set the tone for your work blocks and then actually follow through with your tasks. Today’s post is a follow-up to that topic. I’m going to dive deep into how you can handle distractions and interruptions while you’re working. Let’s face it, this happens so often. So if you’re ready for some new strategies and perspective shifts, let’s get right into it.
Tip # 1: Switch Phone to Airplane Mode & Check Your Planner
Switch your phone to airplane mode, review your planner, and stay focused with the tasks at hand. Don’t worry about those missed calls and messages; just stick to your planner and the tasks you need to get done.
Tip # 2: Stay Out of Your Email Inbox
Once you pull out your planner and know what you’re working on that day, keep away from your email inbox. Make sure to have only one tab open on your computer – the one you’re actually working on so that you remain focused on the present moment.
Tip # 3: Ask Yourself What You’re Working on Now
Periodically ask yourself, what am I working on right now? And if you cannot answer within three seconds, then you are multitasking! You are working on more than one thing and that is absolutely detrimental to your productivity. Stop what you’re doing, refocus, and repeat to yourself what it is you’re supposed to be doing. Create a sticky note or a reminder so that you don’t forget. Whatever you do, try to avoid stopping what you are doing to attend to something else as it will be harder for you to get re-engaged with the original task that you were working on.
Tip # 4: Schedule Time to Check Email
We’re constantly checking our email to see who needs us. We innately click on our email, and the temptation is even stronger when you have email notifications sent directly to your phone. So to combat this, have a scheduled time to check your email as it can be so easy to just live in your inbox all day long.
Tip # 5: Listen to Soft Instrumental Music
To block out and drown out some of the noise around you, put in some earplugs or earbuds and listen to some soft instrumental music. Sometimes when listening to music with lyrics you are tempted to sing-along, and you may get distracted. So instead, you can listen to calm instrumental music that can help you concentrate.
Let’s face it, interruptions can happen anytime and occur before or in the middle of your work block. And as a result, you have to stop everything and attend to that emergency.
Tip # 1: Expect Interruptions
First, you must expect interruptions. They’re inevitable and they’re going to happen! You have to learn how to adapt and be flexible in your response. Another thing you should do is leave margin in your schedule, which means you shouldn’t plan things so close together. You need to have the time in your schedule for things to go wrong because they will.
Another thing you could do to minimize interruptions from your kids during your work block is to have enough one-on-one connection before you start working. Give them the positive attention they need so that they’re less likely to interrupt you when you start your work block.
Tip # 2: Enforcing Work Life Boundaries
Once you have had that one-on-one connection with your kids, give them the expectations of what you’re about to do. Let them know that you’re getting ready to head into a work block and also tell them the fun things they can look forward to after you have completed your work. Once you establish these work blocks and you start to enforce a boundary around it, your children will learn how to adapt. The key is to consistently enforce them.
Tip # 3: Overestimate your Deadlines
I think this can be so difficult for everyone. Overestimating your deadline is saying like, I think I can get this project done in one week, but I’m going to give myself two weeks before it actually needs to be done. By giving yourself time to work on it you will be able to do your best work. If you need to go back and tweak something then you have the time to do that. Remember, don’t give yourself so much extra time that you end up spending all that time to get it done. Just leave some blank space in your schedule in case things come up and you need the extra time to get your tasks done.
Tip # 4: Adjust Your Schedule
We have to be realistic, there are going to be times that you have to move tasks to another day, and you have to reschedule appointments. You’re going to have to find more pockets of time maybe at night or over the weekend possibly if you haven’t left enough margin and use this extra time to make up for lost time. And I think that’s the biggest key here is to make sure that you are expecting the interruptions, that you’re being flexible, but that you’re also leaving margin for those things to go wrong. And then you’re overestimating your deadlines and you’re adjusting your schedule. This way you won’t feel so overwhelmed or tied down to your schedule when interruptions do occur as you already have a plan in place for responding.
I hope that you have found today’s episode to be helpful, and hopefully it’s inspired you to put a new plan into action for handling distractions and interruptions that may occur during your work blocks. If you enjoy today’s episode, I would love for you to share it with other mamas and tag me @thepurposegathering on Instagram. I always love seeing your posts and being able to connect with you! And I just want to say thank you so much for always being so supportive.
As always mama, I am here rooting for you, and you are not alone on this journey.