Distractions are one of the hindrances to productive work. Distractions come in varying shapes and forms if you may. A distraction is anything that interrupts your attention from the work you are doing. Some distractions both online and offline include things like:
- Emails – although it is important to respond to emails as soon as you get them, checking emails can take up a huge chunk of time. Apart from business related emails one may find the inbox filled with a bunch of subscription emails or updates.
- The social media – such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., which can take up time that one needs to work on important projects.
- Calls, text messages and chats – this can be phone calls or either on the phone or applications like Skype, Whats app etc..these are also disruptive when one has to keep answering calls or replying to messages.
- Visits – personal visits from friends or family. People tend to think freelancers have all the time available and that they can work at any time they choose. So you may even find yourself with a number of errands to run for the employed folks.
Of course, there are many more distractions that can result in wasted time and failure to accomplish set targets. So with all the distractions waiting to steal your time, how does one manage them to remain productive?
Managing distractions when working on freelance projects
- Learn to separate your personal life from your work life
Most important let your family and friends know you need your space to work in the same way they take their employment seriously. Do not allow yourself to become the official errand girl/by in your household.
- Create a consistent work schedule
Consider yourself a professional and create a consistent daily work routine where you set aside work hours. A consistent schedule will enable you to get much more done and the family and friends, we just mentioned will also take your work seriously.
- Discipline, Discipline, again I say Discipline
Fight off the urge to keep off social media..of course, there was that post you had seen earlier and want to know what people are saying…pinch yourself if you have to, but just fight off that urge. Set aside specific time to be on social media. I have also learnt to avoid commenting on some posts since there will be so many notifications later that may distract you (especially when one has to use social media for marketing or other work related issues ) from your work.
- Prioritize work
Prioritize work on the basis of the most important tasks. As a freelancer one has several tasks to carry out, whether it is work from different clients, looking for new clients, building your portfolio etc.
- Close those unnecessary tabs
Close sites that are bound to distract you such as social media sites and focus on the pages with the work you are currently doing. Notifications and buzzes from these sites can distract you, when you decide to take a peak at who may have sent a message. That may be a snare…one hour later you have lost trail of what you were working on.
- Learn to handle distractions
As much as we want to keep off from things that take away time, sometimes it is not practical to entirely avoid distractions. So it is important to learn how to handle some distractions that pop up when least expected. This will require that you devise mechanisms of handling unexpected distractions.