5 Ways to Remove Distractions So You Can Get Things Done
Today, we are bringing it back to time management for busy moms. Part of our problem as busy moms is the seemingly unending list of things we have to get done. It never ends. Every time we accomplish one thing something new comes up. Add the multitude of distractions facing us every day, and making progress can seem virtually impossible! Now I can’t get things done for you, but I can provide quick and easy ways to reduce your distractions so that you can get things done and have more time for fun!!
1. Revamp Your Phone Home Screen
If you are anything like me, seeing the little red notification dots on my phone drives me crazy. Going on my phone to check my mail becomes checking Facebook and Instagram and email, etc.. Sometimes even if there are no dots, just seeing the icon can start to compel me to open the app. So, in order to prevent this, move all of your social media app off of your home screen. Move them at least onto your second page. Then when you open your phone to say add something to your calendar, you won’t be distracted by social media and the little red dots.
2. Turn Off Lock Screen Notifications
Here’s the thing, lock screen notifications should only be for things that would really need your immediate attention. The fact that someone saved your pin on Pinterest or tagged you on Facebook is not something that requires you to stop what you are doing and address it. If it is not something that needs your attention, turn off the lock screen and banner notifications. Keep things like your calendar which would actually require your attention.
3. Try Unroll.me
Another big distraction is email. I personally can’t hide my work email. We are on call 24/7 so I always have to check when emails come in. However, the vast majority of my emails are not emergencies. They are store offers and newsletters, and Fitbit tell me to charge by watch. These things don’t require my attention, but if I see I have an email, I have to check it. So I signed up for Unroll.me. This is a free service that helps you go through all of your subscriptions to determine if you want to unsubscribe, keep it in your mail box, or roll it up.
I have rolled up over 100 of those store and miscellaneous email subscriptions. This means that these emails will be stored in an Unroll.me folder within your gmail. This is located in the left bar along with all of your other email folders. The emails never hit your inbox, they go straight to this folder and then once a day, you get one email with all of the rolled up emails that came in in the last 24 hours. You can even choose what time of day you want to receive this one email. If it turns out that you want to forward one of the rolled up emails, for example if you want to send your hubby the email about the jewelry sale at Lord and Taylor, (hint hint), you can still find that email in your Unroll.me folder. I can’t begin to tell you how much this has saved me from distraction!
4. Make a To Do List
This one is essential. If you know what you have to do it’s easier to focus and get things done. I have a tried and true method for creating your to do list each day. I wrote a whole post on it here. The basic process is to do a brain dump of everything that you need to do and then create a to do list of the 3 items that must get done that day. If you complete those three items, then you can look back at your brain dump and possibly accomplish even more in your day!
Another kind of useful list is a process list. This is a list of steps you need to perform to complete a task. For example when creating a blog post there are various steps to complete including but not limited to writing the post, proofreading, creating images, creating tags, scheduling the post, sharing to social media, etc.. These lists are extremely helpful, even for things you do all the time. Because sometimes you can’t eliminate a distraction, like the kids, but have a list of steps to follow will let you jump in where you left off and not miss a step.
5. Write Down Your Ideas/To Dos
This tip is kind of related to #4. Sometimes during our day things come to mind that need to get done or appointments or meeting are made that need to be added to our schedule. These can be distracting and take us away from what we are doing at the moment. Often we either start the new thing that comes to mind immediately, or we rely on our memory to do it later. Instead keep a journal or planner or even the notes app on your phone to write down these things as they come to mind. For example I may be reading an article and think of an idea for a blog post. Instead of relying on memory or dropping the article and immediately starting the post, I make a note of the idea and return to it when I am doing my blogging. This allows you to remain focused on your task but not lose the idea.
Do you have any methods that you use to eliminate distractions? Share them in the comments.
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.