The hardest part about being your own boss is staying focused. When you have to manage your social media, conversations, and emails all at the same time, that can get real messy real fast. Digital distractions are especially tricky as they’re there ALL. THE. TIME. and so often, you don’t even realise it until it’s too late.
Part of the problem is thinking that you’re multitasking when you do things like writing content while on the phone. But the truth is, you’re damaging your own productivity, and you’re not delivering the high quality that you really have the ability to produce. Multitasking only works when one of your tasks is automatic and doesn’t require brain power. You can, for example, clean your glasses while you’re on the phone. Replying Facebook comments while writing your next big blog post? Not so much.
Why do digital distractions take over?
Most of the time, we use them to procrastinate from work and pressure. Have you ever found that the more work you have to do, the more tempting it becomes to check Facebook? This, I must admit, rings so true for me, and I used to find myself scrolling through social media even when I knew that I wouldn’t find anything interesting.
The good news is that now that you understand that this is the real reason why things like social media are so distracting, you can step up and put yourself in control.
How you can take charge of your digital distractions
Quitting cold turkey may work for some people, but for most of us, it’s better to cut down on your digital distractions one at a time.
Start by checking your emails at specific times throughout the day, then start signing out from Facebook and Instagram when you’re working. The key is to give yourself some time to properly get used to it, rather than giving yourself a shock to the system. Once you’ve made this into a habit, it will be smooth sailing.
Set aside time for focused work
The best way to get work done efficiently is to block out time for it. Make an appointment with yourself for content creation, and turn off all of your digital distractions. Mute your phone, close your email tabs, and sign out from Facebook. The one thing you can leave turned on is your favourite Spotify playlist.
Use this time to do your most important work first that requires the most brain power, and make sure you minimise all distractions.
Decide on when you’re going to check social media
On the flip side, you should also set aside time for social media. Studies show that we take an average of three minutes to adjust when we switch between tasks, and if you’re periodically checking in on Instagram every other hour, that can add up to a lot of time wasted.
The thing is that for a lot of us, especially those with businesses, checking social media and email is actually really important. Instead of doing this throughout the day, pick specific times and commit to them.
You could, for example, decide to stay away from social media when you wake up, and dedicate 30 minutes to engaging with your community (and, let’s face it, scroll through Buzzfeed) later in the morning, and another 30 minutes in the afternoon. This is a much more effective method, and also ensures that your engagement remains authentic and focused, rather than sporadic throughout the day.
Turn off at the end of the day
This last tip is so so important. As #bossbabes, we feel like we’re connected to our businesses 24/7, but this means that we have to turn off at the end of the day even more. Tune out from social media at night, at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will help you set boundaries between your online and offline lives, and also help you get quality sleep. Technology should really stay outside of your bedroom.
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