May 3, 2020

Navigating Distractions and Boosting Productivity

In my decade at kdm communications, the company has seen substantial growth, including a rise in staff from under ten to 14, along with numerous freelancers. While this expansion brings benefits, such as more writers and celebratory occasions, it poses challenges for easily distracted individuals like myself. The diverse daily discussions in a life science marketing agency, from youth slang to choosing a cat for #NationalCatDay, often divert my attention. The resulting cries of ‘Hannah, please be quiet, you’re distracting me’ resonate in the office. In the fast-paced world of scientific marketing, distractions hinder technical writing. In my pursuit of minimizing disruptions, I’ve discovered strategies that may assist you too.

 

  1. Headphones are your friend, music is optional! Now obviously this isn’t possible all the time, but when I have a pressing job that needs to be finished asap this is my first step. This works two ways; I’m not distracted by other colleagues talking, and my co-workers are much less likely to disturb me. The technical writers at kdm are fond of this tactic as well, using ear defenders while they write and proof. If you do listen to music, I suggest something without lyrics (this blog is being written to the soundtrack of Lord of the Rings).
  2. Write a list, then add timings. If I have a very busy day ahead, I like to take the time to plan my entire day beforehand.  Once I have the order, I estimate the time needed for each task and schedule them accordingly. For example, I scheduled writing this blog for 3pm, and allowed myself 30 minutes for it. Don’t worry if you’re timings are off, I generally find they balance out, some things may take longer than you expect but some will be quicker.
  3. If you start something, then finish it. This goes with the above, but don’t jump from one project to another. This definitely used to be my downfall. I would start one task, and then suddenly remember another urgent job and switch to working on that. Sometimes this is inevitable if an urgent email comes in, but most of the time it’s preventable.
  4. Ignore your emails.  Manage your emails strategically. While it may not be feasible for everyone to ignore them completely, you can minimize their impact. Categorize incoming emails on a scale of 1-5. Urgent emails require immediate attention but are rare. Once labeled, either address the email promptly or add it to a list for future consideration.
  5. Take breaks when necessary. Your brain may reach its limit, leading to distractions by the smallest things. Breaks vary for individuals; some may simply walk to the kitchen for coffee, rejuvenating upon return. Others may benefit from fresh air or a short outdoor walk to clear their minds. As mentioned earlier, breaking down large projects into smaller tasks can significantly enhance productivity.

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