Having trouble focusing on your work? You’re not alone: The advent of smartphones, tablets, and Twitter has made staying connected to the flow of information seem seductively simple. All you have to do is leave your email inbox open in one tab, have Facebook or Twitter open in another, and set your phone to beep whenever you have an appointment to ensure that you stay productive without missing a single meeting or status update.
Yet chances are good that you aren’t as productive as you could be. For every timely email message you catch, or every insightful Twitter discussion you contribute to, you probably slog through 50 unimportant email missives or waste 20 minutes declining silly game requests on Facebook. Technology can be terribly distracting. With a few simple tips and tricks, however, you can trim the fat from your technological lifestyle and be more productive.
Even if you are meeting your productivity goals currently, eliminating unnecessary distractions will help you get more work done in less time, so you can spend those spare moments on something more fun and fulfilling. For example, any PC user can benefit from our guide to making your PC distraction-free; desktop computers are more powerful than ever, but with that power comes the responsibility to resist knocking off every 20 minutes to check your Twitter app or play a few minutes of Skyrim. If that responsibility sometimes weighs too heavily on you, consider downloading a no-cost, distraction-free word processor or Web browser, which can help you stay on track.
Or perhaps you have loads of self-discipline, but you find it difficult to ignore people on your social networks long enough to get any work done. Working in a high-tech industry without trying to stay on top of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and half a dozen other social networks can be tough, but we have some advice to help you silence your social networks without missing any important updates.
Of course, the last source of distraction for most people is email. You need it to work productively with colleagues and to stay on top of your industry, but–believe it or not–you can actually ignore your email without losing your job. In fact, you’ll probably improve your productivity even more once you stop wasting time responding to low-priority conversations and obsessively checking your inbox for new messages. The trick is to sit down and figure out what’s important, and then set up an automated filtering system that ensures you receive email only when it’s necessary. Check out our in-depth guide for more information, and use your newfound productivity wisely!