Eliminating Digital Distractions and Staying on Task

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From the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep we are getting notified of things happening in the world that we just have to know about.

Let’s face it. We live in an information-rich environment.

We have more access to raw information now that at any other time in our history, and it is only going to continue growing. From the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep we are getting notified of things happening in the world that we just have to know about.

This probably sounds familiar…

“You have new mail…”

“Your friend just responded to your post…”

“Someone commented on your post…”

“Your Facebook page has a new like…”

“You have new mail…”

“Hey, can you do this thing for me?”

“Tool just released their new single…”

“Someone you don’t really know but follow on Instagram for some reason just posted for the first time in a long time…”

“…ohh Puppies!!!  I need to share this”

“Did you see what Donnie did?

“I saw your post about your thing… can we talk?

You start the day all motivated with a plan of attack that is going to get some amazing things done, but it can be really hard to stay on task and not get distracted by all the notifications and requests you receive all day.

While technology can help us to connect with prospects, clients and old friends; it can also make it harder to shut out the distractions so you can finish your task and do a great job.  Here are my top 5 tools that can help me stay productive during the day.

Project Management Software

Having all your projects, assets and milestones in sync and accessible can significantly improve overall team performance.  But project management systems aren’t just for teams, they can be just as helpful for freelancers or individuals.  My current favorite tool is Wrike

Wrike is a powerful tool for managing and collaborating on projects. This software combines a simple design with efficient project management features.  It’s easy to share and assign tasks, projects, and folders with team members as well as monitor deadlines and project progress.  Wrike can also be very useful as a to-do list or calendar for strategic planning.  Wrike is the successful medium of great collaborative features and easy-to-use interface.

Email Management.

Just because you received a new email doesn’t mean you need to take action it right away.

Boomerang is a time-saving add on for Gmail and Office 365 that gives you control over sending and receiving email.  Boomerang allows users to track email responses, clean up your inbox by removing emails until you actually need them, and pause your inbox until you are ready for it.  Boomerang also includes an assistant that uses artificial intelligence to help you write better, more actionable emails in real-time.  Boomerang allows email to be a business tool again and not an intrusive part of your day.

Procrastination is not always bad.

It is pretty easy to get sucked down an internet rabbit hole when you see a cool article to read or YouTube video and before you know it you have 30 different tabs open on your browser and have seen YouTube videos of the hottest metal band in Mongolia.  Pocket is a super simple tool that lets you save all the really cool content that you find online or in over 1500 apps so you can watch it later at your convenience and stay on task now.  The nice thing about Pocket is that it doesn’t just save links, you can download the content for offline viewing. And if you picked some really awesome content, you can send it to other Pocket users or share it to social media directly from the app.

Understand how you spend your time.

Toggl is the simple, intuitive time tracker app that you’ll actually use. It isn’t limited by device and works on your computer, tablet and phone, so no matter where or what you’re working on, your hours are being tracked. Oh, and you’ll never forget to turn this productivity app on because it sends you friendly reminders to do so.

When you’ve completed a task, take a look at the detailed report. Toggl crunches the numbers and shows you how your time was spent. You just have to analyze its findings and adjust the way you work in the future to be more productive.

Block the distractions.

Sometimes you need to be just a little more draconian in your tactics to keep yourself on task. With Cold Turkey, you can temporarily block digital distractions that slow down your productivity. The Cold Turkey platform lets you block specific distracting sites, applications, or the entire Internet for a set time frame that you control. If you attempt to access a blocked site, motivational quotes pop up to keep you focused and on track until your work is done.

It can be hard to stay focused in a digital age. Every device and tool we have beeps and flashes vying for our attention.  But if you understand where you need help staying productive you can do some research and find the tool that works best for you, making sure your technology tools are blessing and not a curse.

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