If you consider the time spent harvesting your imaginary farm productive then I suggest you stop reading now. Everyone knows that life is full of distractions. How you handle distractions has a direct impact on your personal well-being, productivity, financial success, and the relationships you develop. My goal is to encourage everyone to take a closer look at how you spend your time. WARNING: Be prepared for a harsh reality check!
There are 168 hours in a week. Keep a detailed log of how you spend your time and within a few days you’ll be confused, concerned, and utterly disgusted. Once you eliminate eating and sleeping, the massive grey area that remains is full of excuses and misconceptions that consume an unfathomable amount of time we can never get back. When you consider the amount of time you’ve lost it will make you sick to your stomach. Dwelling on the past is a waste of time, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid! The most difficult challenge to overcome is identifying the distractions in your life.
While it’s impossible to create a world that is free of distractions, you can identify key influences that hurt your productivity and find ways to minimize or eliminate their impact. This list barely scratches the surface, but you may find a few surprises that have a dramatic impact on your productivity. Grab a pen and paper so you can start building your own list.
Eliminate these distractions and your productivity will become unstoppable:
- Facebook — imagine how much free time you would have if you stopped creepin’? It’s scarier than a random notification you were tagged in a picture.
- Instant Messenger Services — where a 5-minute phone call becomes an IM convo that lasts your entire work day. I can’t imagine how that would be distracting!
- GChat – your away message isn’t fooling anyone.
- Facebook Chat – when creepin’ just isn’t enough.
- BBM – a slight improvement over sending messages on stone slabs.
- AIM – does anyone still use it?
- StumbleUpon — tons of great info but if you knew what you were looking for wouldn’t a quick Google search yield better results?
- Instagram — your crappy photography appears less crappy when you make it look old.
- Twitter — Justin Bieber won’t even notice you’re gone.
- Pinterest — will the same people using Pinterest to plan their unrealistic wedding use the social network to plan their very real divorce?
- Words With Friends — aka Procrastination101
- Draw Something — Procrastination102
- Reddit — similar to StumbleUpon and equally time-consuming
- Texting conversations — because it makes perfect sense to send messages back and forth all day to make plans. When did we become a socially awkward culture that is afraid to speak on the phone?
- All Texts-From Website — is there anything less productive than reading texts from people you don’t know? This includes random parents who don’t know how to text, texts from last night, or auto-correct mistakes all fall under this category.
- Checking unimportant emails — there are few things more frustrating than stepping away from an important project when you receive a new email notification only to realize it’s another crappy promotion from cell service provider. #ProjectMomentumFail
- Alert notifications on your cellphone — because hearing “BEEP BEEP” every 2-minutes when another email arrives can’t possibly be a distraction to you or anyone else in the office.
- Reality television — if watching reality trainwrecks unfold on national television makes you feel better about yourself then you have other issues that need to be addressed.
- Water Coolers or Coffee Machines — the most common times for unproductive conversations at these locations are — 9:30AM, Noon-2:00PM, and 4:30PM until 6:00PM.
- All games that have “farm” or “ville” in their name — nobody cares about your potato harvest or the community you built. Without government subsidies your farm would go out of business and everyone left in your depressed community would turn to crack and prostitution.
- Entertainment Blogs — FailBlog, TMZ, Perez Hilton, Barstool Sports,
- Fantasy Football, or any fantasy league for that matter — my wife joined a Real World/Road Rules Challenge fantasy league. She needs to get a life!
Is your life over? No! You just need to be aware of the distractions that impact your productivity. There is a time and a place for each of these distractions. Looking for a mindless activity before you go to bed? Browse StumbleUpon or Reddit. Have time to kill while you wait for the train or a flight? Check your fantasy team or jump on Facebook.
How did you do? Remember to revisit your list every few weeks to check your progress. Please leave a comment with any distractions I overlooked so we can help build their list!