Technology solutions can be great for productivity, but they can also cause distractions. Follow these simple steps to get all of the productivity benefits from your technology solutions without destroying your productivity!
1. Check and respond to email at set times.
Checking and responding to emails as soon as they arrive is detrimental to productivity because it provides a constant source of interruption. Instead, turn off email notifications in your email client and on your smartphone and tablet. Set aside a few times a day to check and respond to email and advise anyone that needs to reach you with an urgent matter to call instead of sending an email. You might consider including a line in your email signature that notes the times of day you typically check and respond to emails as well.
2. Turn off unnecessary notifications on your smartphone or tablet.
Smartphone and tablet notifications are another frequent source of interruption. Social media and news apps send a high number of unnecessary push notifications and most of us cannot resist checking a notification once it is received. Disable push notifications for any app that you do not require them for, and get in the habit of checking for updates manually instead.
3. Avoid distracting websites.
Social media websites are a major source of distraction, especially when you are procrastinating on a dreaded task. If you do not require your browser for the task at hand, close it entirely and do not reopen it until you are finished. If you need your browser and cannot resist the temptation to check the latest status updates or tweets, consider installing a browser extension that will block these sites for you. I personally use StayFocusd for Google Chrome, which works by setting a daily time limit for distracting websites and blocking those websites entirely once that limit is reached. If you use Firefox, check out LeechBlock, which allows more customization by allowing you to block certain websites at times of your choosing.
Written by Asher Collins. Asher has since left Gateway Productivity to pursue his passion in ADHD coaching. You can find him here.