Fight procrastination by eliminating distractions

Video clip: “Gotta get my stuff done”

Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don’t take a lot of commitment on their part. Checking e-mail is almost perfect for this purpose. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure. —Psychology Today

That clip says it better than anything else can, procrastinators love distractions. It’s easy to waste an afternoon on meaningless tasks. It may look like work, but it rarely move serious tasks forward.

As noted in the above quote, fear of failure can be one reason behind distractions. Another reason, personal comfort levels. Distractions are a good way to put off tasks that are uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s plain old laziness. Distractions rarely require much effort, mental or physical.

Whatever the reason, here are 5 steps you can take to minimize distractions:

  1. Turn off you e-mail notification – better yet, shut down your e-mail client. It’s easy to look busy checking e-mail,
  2. Get rid of clutter – both real an virtual. Get rid of the knick-knacks, games and toys tools. Working with a clean desktop minimizes distractions.
  3. Disconnect from the Internet – The “quick” read look at the feed reader can turn into an afternoon of wasted time. Checking out your Facebook status turns into hours of checking out the friends of your friends.
  4. Turn off the television – there’s not much worth watching anyway.
  5. Block interruptions – close the office door. Let the telephone go to the voice mail. Those personal distractions can eat up a lot of time.