What daily distractions are productive people ignoring

success3 simple tips to be more productive

In the Stone Age, distractions were often life-threatening. Back then it paid off not to ignore the rustling in the bushes. Hungry predators are no longer to be found in the modern workplace. Our brain has not yet made this evolutionary leap. We are by nature trimmed to prefer new stimuli to monotonous work. In the fight against constant distraction, a good strategy is the be-all and end-all, says productivity expert Chris Bailey.

The author of the guidebook “The Productivity Project” formulated these three tips for more concentration at work in the “Harvard Business Review”.

Tip # 1: define main tasks

Sometimes you can't see the work for all the tasks. Bailey advises that you always answer this question first thing in the morning: What three things do I want to do by the end of the day? The expert is a fan of the trio. The number is manageable and does not strain the attention span excessively. All subordinate activities are put on a separate to-do list. They are not addressed until the three main tasks have been completed. According to Bailey, this strategy provides clarity and gives structure to the working day.

Tip # 2: work more and harder

This advice sounds counterproductive at first. Isn't it about lightening the workload? Not necessarily, Bailey clarifies. Distraction could be a sign that one is in truth under-challenged and underutilized. The free time is then inevitably filled with unproductive sideline activities. In this case, if you can, you should trust yourself to more interesting and demanding tasks. The concentration may then come naturally.

Tip # 3: Artificial deadlines

Freedom and non-commitment are two of the greatest enemies of concentrated work. Whether it's a university final exam or an important presentation at work: in the days or hours before a deadline, we are often capable of unexpected increases in productivity. According to Bailey, this (healthy) psychological pressure can also be built up in daily work. Do you have a specific task to do today? Set yourself a time limit, for example 50 minutes. After this phase of maximum concentration, there is a reward - for example ten minutes of distraction on the mobile phone or a chat in the office kitchen. Then the brain is ready for the next surge of concentration.