How Digital Marketers Can Get Freedom From Distractions

How Digital Marketers Can Get Freedom From Distractions

You’re here because you’re distracted. It’s a common problem today. It’s wildly more common among digital marketers because the same tools and platforms we utilize to keep eyes on our products keep us clicking, scrolling, and drifting down rabbit holes. Let’s not forget the absolute whirlwinds of activity going on outside our workspaces at all hours. 

If you work from home, you already know how easy it is to get pulled away from your tasks by roommates, kids, pets, or the Amazon truck pulling into the driveway. If you’re working in an office, you likely have a distraction buzzing by your desk roughly every 7.5 seconds. This is all before you take into account the world inside your screen that lures you in with clickbait, lively group texts, and to-do lists.

Just how distracted are we? 

According to this Solitaired Workplace Distractions Survey, only 2% of respondents said that nothing distracted them at work. 

Aside from these distraction-proof unicorns, workers are increasingly distracted by both work-related and leisure-related disruptions. While 25% of respondents said that workplace distractions were responsible for taking them away from their tasks, 23.4% said that games were the top distractors. Rounding out the list of the top seven distractions experienced by people at work are phones (21.3%), disorganization (20%), kids/pets (17.1%), to-do lists (14.9%), and other (8%).

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to mitigate distractions. 

The freedom that comes from managing distractions is that you’ll have more time left over at the end of the workday to actually engage in the things you want to engage in without frustration and guilt. 

Creating a distraction-free plan can help you to produce better work. Research shows that interruptions significantly reduce our quality of work. What’s more, researchers have found that distractions actually cause us to take longer to produce work even though it ends up being several points worse than what we’d produce in a distraction-free setting. Take a look at eight great ways to tame distractions.

1. Anticipate Your Obstacles

Catch your distractions a mile away before they creep into your day. 

The truth is that you can’t fix a problem you haven’t fully identified. 

Start by making a list of the top five distractions that “get you” every time. Next, strategize on solutions for minimizing those distractions before they erupt throughout the day. 

This can often come down to good technology hygiene. 

Is the problem that alerts and notifications are causing you to pick up your phone? Silence alerts during your workday hours. 

Do friends and family constantly call or message during the day? Let them know that you’re unavailable to chat during work hours. 

Do colleagues constantly pop up at your desk to chat? Consider switching from inconspicuous earbuds to large earphones that convey a more visible aura of “unavailability.”

2. Set Your Alarm an Hour Earlier

In some cases, the only way to beat distractions is to wake up before they do. 

This can be especially important for someone who works from home. 

You may find that your day begins on a hectic note if you need to walk and feed the dog in time to slide into your chair for that first meeting of the day. Consider waking up an hour earlier to actually savor the morning walk with your dog without feeling like you need to be in two places at once. You’ll even have some time to look over meeting notes with a clear head. 

The same concept applies if you’re looking for a quiet way to knock out some complicated tasks before the rest of the family wakes up. Even getting to the office before the rest of your team can give you some precious distraction-free time for getting ahead of the day’s workload.

3. Make Time for Breaks

Did you know that the brain maxes out your productivity levels at about the 55-minute mark when you’re working on a task? 

Scheduling little “brain breaks” into your day that allow you to play games, browse the news, chat, or take a quick walk can actually make you more productive when you resume your work. 

The promise of a break also helps you to stay fresh and motivated instead of feeling restricted.

4. Tackle the Hardest Task First

Completing your most challenging task of the day first thing in the morning can help you to churn out work while your brain is in its freshest state. You’ll be less inclined to turn to distractions if you’re not suffering from the “dread” of having to finish something that’s difficult. You’ll then be able to get through easier tasks that require less brainpower as the day drags on.

5. Make Sure Your Workspace Is Comfortable and Ergonomic

Being physically uncomfortable can actually make it difficult to focus. 

That’s because poor posture causes fatigue. Researchers have recently discovered that being tired can actually make us more distractible by producing a “wandering mind” that shifts us from thought to thought.

6. Use a Focus Mantra

While it may seem overly simple, a mantra can help you to stay focused when the temptation to drift creeps in. 

Consider putting a note next to your screen that simply features the word “focus” if you often get distracted at your desk. 

You can also consider repeating the word over and over when your brain starts to think of topics that aren’t related to the task you’re working on.

7. Get a Mini Fridge

Do you end up getting caught in a maze of distractions every time you get up to refill your water bottle or grab a snack? 

Consider making a little “snack corner” in your working space. A mini-fridge, snack shelf, and coffee maker can help you to stay plugging away when you’re in the zone instead of breaking your streak. 

Of course, having an efficient plan for snacking in place shouldn’t replace actually taking real breaks for recharging!

8. Face Your Desk Away From Distractions

Is there a laundry pile staring you down from across your home office? Are you stacking your bills on your work desk? 

It may be time to organize your workspace differently. While you might not be actively paying attention to these household distractions, they’re still tugging at your attention span. 

Visual reminders will chip away at your focus and productivity because your brain can’t help but to be reminded that they need to be taken care of at some point. 

Free your mind of clutter by literally facing away from the clutter when you’re trying to work.

The Bottom Line on Reducing Distractions

Digital marketers don’t know the meaning of the word unplug. Staying connected is in their blood. However, implementing just a few savvy tips can ensure that you stay plugged in without getting overloaded by distractions. Work and play can work together when you use your time wisely.