Time Management Skills: Distractions and Productivity

Calum MacRae Sep 07, 2020

Distractions play a big role in affecting our daily productivity. 

From checking social media to an unexpected chat with a colleague, we often don’t realise the time we spend being distracted every day. This loss of focus interrupts workflow, creativity and productivity and, in turn, adds stress and pressure. 

During the next few weeks of Covid-19 lockdown, take the time to recognise non-helpful behaviours and work on them. Creating new, more effective time management habits will allow you to take better control of your business and put you in a strong position for the future.

Here are some tricks and tips to remove everyday distractions and increase productivity.

  • Write your To-Do list the night before. Then, when you sit down at your desk, you won’t waste time trying to remember that ‘thing you needed to do’ the day before. Read through your list, make any necessary adjustments and get stuck in to your day!


  • Set specific times to read and respond to emails. If you plan to spend significant time away from your email, a simple ‘Out of Office’ response will let people know when to expect your ‘return’.


  • Set a time for social media. If LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are part of your working life, create a social media plan each week or fortnight in advance, then schedule your posts accordingly. Set a time to review and always be aware of the distraction of mindless scrolling. That’s for after work!


  • Clean out your feeds. Our newsfeeds can easily become filled with distracting bits and pieces that waste time and don’t provide value. If the posts are not relevant or doing you any good, unsubscribe.


  • Turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for your laptop/PC notifications. This is handy to prevent random notifications popping up on your screen while you are focussed on a task or project.


  • Turn your phone on silent. Or put it in a drawer. If you’re following the Pomodoro Technique, you’ll be taking a five minute break every 25 minutes, creating a perfect time to check your phone. Remember that, unless it is an emergency or important for work, there is no need to reply immediately to any calls, emails or social media comments. Do that in your set time.


  • Stay hydrated, take breaks and exercise regularly. Maintaining good mental and physical health is incredibly important in maximising productivity – particularly during the current lockdown and restrictions we are currently experiencing. Drink water, stretch, get out for a short walk – it all adds up!


  • Learn how to say ‘no’. Saying ‘yes’ to everything is a sure-fire way to feel overwhelmed and stressed. If you struggle with saying ‘no’, plan ahead for conversations and try using scripts to make it easier. 


  • Create a productive, non-distracting workspace. This can be a challenge if you’re currently working from home, (especially if you have kids home-schooling around you), but a de-cluttered, calm environment will assist your productivity, creativity and motivation.


Effective time management will have a significant impact on the daily practices and overall productivity of your business. Becoming aware of your behaviours and making simple changes to your routine and habits will help to remove distractions and foster greater focus, creativity and results. Implementing better time management strategies will help you get through the coming weeks, and also put your business in a strong position to kick-off once the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.


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