How to Use Avoidance to Boost Productivity

How to Use Avoidance to Boost Productivity

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I’m nice, really I am. But there are times when I hide. I just don’t want to engage. Know what I mean?

As I was sitting here in my office, a friend came online and I changed my Skype to offline and shrugged off the twinge of guilt I felt. It’s not that I didn’t want to chat, because oh do I. It’s not even that I didn’t like this friend, because I do. It was that I was in the middle of something and I just didn’t want to be interrupted.

But I feel so guilty. I feel so guilty when I’m not available to chat. When I’m not able to respond immediately to a friend, family member, or co-worker. However, when I do give in and let myself and my time be dictated by my emails and messages pouring in, I feel guilty at the end of the day when I’ve only gotten a fraction of what I wanted to accomplish. So how do you balance your need to be connected all the time with the need to get stuff done?

Be more productive by stepping away for a while.

Have you felt this way? In this age of digital convenience, “crackberries” and instant messaging you can feel slightly overwhelmed and want to get away from it all. It’s no secret that these conveniences can make life more complicated and wreak havoc on your productivity. So, how can you boost your productivity using avoidance? Here are a few tips:

1. Step away from the messenger apps.

You know who you are, you are a voracious messenger. You could text text and Slack all day, (and you just might be on my friend list). People love messaging you and you love messaging them. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But when you are on a deadline or trying to get stuff done, all these messages are a mega distraction, so turn it off for a short while. Get your task done in record time. And then focus on your messages. This is one situation where multi-tasking is not more efficient.

2. Put your phone on silent mode and flip it over.

There’s this great invention we have, it’s called “voice mail.” It will be your friend and your assistant while you are getting work done.

Plus, most of those annoying notifications lighting up your phone aren’t important. They’re just trying to distract you. So if you have anxiety like me and feel like you need to act immediately every time you see your phone light up, flip it over.

If you still need to be able to hear calls and texts, but don’t want to be distracted by additional notifications, then you can try turning off the data or internet connection to your phone for a while. This should stop several of the unnecessary notifications from getting through while still allowing calls and texts.

3. Your calendar is your friend.

Be real about how much you can do in one day. Can you get 37 tasks done in one day and still be sane at dinner time? Nope.

I use the 1-3-5 rule for setting up my to-do list each day. I list one big project that I want to get done, three medium projects, and then five small things.

Use your calendar, spread things out a bit, and be sure you create some white space in there so you aren’t overwhelmed and want to hide away from the world. Even schedule in times when you want to check your messages and email.

4. Don’t feel guilty.

If you avoid people in the grocery store, use your caller ID to screen your calls, or simply don’t pick up a call – you are not a bad person. You don’t have to be available 24 hours a day or 7 days a week.

Save some time for yourself or you’ll be headed for disaster and then you won’t have anything to give anyone.

Now, I gotta go because I’ve got work to do!

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