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The Productive Solopreneur – Destroy Your Distractions
Welcome back to the Productive Solopreneur Series. In the last video, we went over why early risers get more done.
We talked about what science really says about waking up early and went over 7 strategies to become a successful early riser.
In this video, we are diving into Key #3 Destroy Distractions.
Destroy Your Distractions
You know the feeling. You’ve prepped yourself. You’re buckled down and start knocking things off your to-do list.
That thing is a mile long, and it just keeps growing. You’re finally set and in the right mindset, and you’re ready to hit the ground running.
You’re completely geared up, ready to knock out your list.
- Then the phone dings — it’s a text message.
- Your laptop bings with a new email.
- Your phone buzzes with a new Slack message.
- Your partner walks in with a question.
- Your phone rings – it’s a random call.
- You need another cup of coffee.
- You’re feeling a bit hungry.
- You have to use the bathroom.
Before you know it, your whole morning is blown, and you have nothing to show for it. Yep, been there. Done that.
Unfortunately, these types of distractions are one of the main killers of productivity. You have a lot of things coming at you all the time, and many of them are stopping you from focusing on what really matters.
While you’re busy with all these distractions, you’re not really accomplishing anything.
So how can you eliminate all these distractions and get to the important stuff?
Here are 5 strategies to get rid of the distractions and get yourself back on track.
Strategy #1: Make Your Plans the Night Before
Making plans the night before can be a really helpful trick to help you stay focused the following day.
You don’t have to plan every decision or each minute, but make choices about some simple things that might turn into distractions during the day.
For example, plan out:
● What you’ll wear
● What you’ll eat for lunch
● What time you’ll go to the gym
● When your social media time will be
● What the plan is for dinner
When you’re still sleepy in the morning, these decisions are probably going to be more difficult to make and can easily occupy your mind.
You can also set yourself a rough schedule.
For example, you may decide not to check your email or answer any text messages until you’ve completed your two most important tasks (that you already decided on). From 8:30 am to 10 am, you’ll focus just on one specific project.
Strategy #2: Cut Out Social Media
It’s estimated that people are spending on average 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media. Sure, that’s a great stat if you’re trying to reach your customers, but a terrible one for your productivity.
Yes, social media can be a great resource for marketing and sales, but…
● Constantly checking your personal notifications
● Taking the time to respond to various rants
● Endlessly scrolling through pictures on Instagram
… Isn’t going to help your business.
Social media is a black hole and a major time suck. Notifications, messages, and social media channels, in general, can be sneakily addictive.
But there are some strategies you can use to help you manage your time on social media:
● Set yourself a schedule to go on social media – for example, only between 9 – 10 am and 3 – 4 pm and stick to it
● Turn off all your non-business-related notifications so you’re not feeling the constant pull of “dings” distracting you.
● Use tools like “iOS Screen Time” or “Android Digital Wellbeing” to monitor or restrict social media use.
Use this time to use your business social media accounts to engage with your customers, post about your new products, and share pictures. After that, put your phone away, step away from social media and focus on your other tasks.
Tip #3: Create Yourself Boundaries
On any given workday, you’ll have to take important calls. There may be some lines of communication that are necessary to your day, but there are others that can be set aside.
Give yourself periods during your day when you don’t check your phone, emails, or Slack messages.
Some entrepreneurs choose the early morning to return emails and engage with customers on social media.
Others choose to focus on their list of tasks before creating new tasks introduced by outside messages.
Choose the rhythm that works best for you but ensure that you stick to it.
It’s vitally important to set times of the day when you’re not in constant contact with outside interruptions.
If possible, it’s also a good plan to leave at least one day a week when you’re not scheduled for a meeting. This can give you a free day to complete tasks and stay productive.
Tip #4: Create Your Productive Space
If you’re working from home or at an office, it’s important to create a space where you can be productive.
Productivity produces productivity.
That means, if you were previously productive in a certain space, your brain will want to be productive there again. You’ll actually associate that place with the same feeling that you had the last time you were able to crush it.
Likewise, if you have a specific space that you associate with fun — perhaps in. your living room where the TV is — you’ll want to do those more entertaining things when you’re there.
Keep your fun time places and your work time places separate, and make your workspace conducive for doing work.
If you want your workplace to promote work, it helps to keep it tidy. A cluttered and messy space will easily distract you.
Even if you don’t feel like you need to tidy it up, the disorganization can keep you from getting your work done.
It also helps to keep your workplace simple and easy to maintain and make sure it has a door so you can shut out distractions if necessary.
Tip #5: It Can’t All Be Work
While there are a few successful peoples who are truly all work and no play, most humans aren’t geared that way.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Play Institute, understands the importance of taking the time to play.
In his book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, he explains, “The truth is that play seems to be one of the most advanced methods nature has invented to allow a complex brain to create itself.”
Play opens you up for creativity and relieves us of our workloads. Some workplaces like Google have even built-in areas for play. These spaces are meant to foster more creativity and relieve stress in the workplace.
Dr. Brown also writes in his book:
“…there is a kind of magic in play. What might seem like a frivolous or even childish pursuit is ultimately beneficial. It’s paradoxical that a little bit of “nonproductive” activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life.”
Most of us grow frustrated and unproductive when we’re forced to work constantly and enjoy our time very little. This is a system that is ultimately unsustainable.
There are a few things that an entrepreneur can do to combat this bad system:
1. Make your work enjoyable.
Find ways to make the things you do at work pleasurable and exciting as opposed to drudgery work.
2. Plan to have breaks throughout the day.
Walk around, eat a good lunch, or take a well-deserved coffee break.
It may seem like these things are distractions, but when coupled with more intense sessions of work, they are simply something to look forward to and a way to recharge us.
3. Choose a quitting time.
Choose a part of the day to set aside work and be done for the day. It’s extremely important to have time set aside in the day to give our attention to friends and family.
It’s also important to enjoy relaxation, play, and some good leisure time. This gives you time to recharge and rebound from your workday and start fresh the next day.
4. Take Time Off.
Plan for specific times of the year to be no work times. Enjoy your relationships with family and friends and find ways to have a little fun.
Set aside your phone, emails, and messages and focus on other things in life that matter to you.
You may never be able to cut out all your distractions, but limiting them can greatly improve your chances of success.
Reduce social media time, limit your communications, and make time for play and fun, and you’ll soon see that your productive periods are a whole lot more successful.
In the next video in the series, we’ll dive into Productivity Key #4: Slay Your Dragons
The Productive Entrepreneur Series
Destroy Your Distractions <- YOU ARE HERE
Productivity is Yours
About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.
Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.
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Hi! I'm Torie!
I help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!
You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.
What you need is to be SMART.
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