How I improved my productivity

In the last couple of months I’ve been involved in some side businesses and as a result I’ve been working more hours every day. To try to create some balance and to improve my productivity, I decided to track the time I take for each task and try to discover what are biggest distractions.

As a surprise the main distractions are not twitter, Youtube or blogs, this are the places where I expend most of my time online, but not the reason for a low productivity.

The main distractions are “notifications”.

Yes, the little popups with some message that tells you somebody did something or you need to do something. That messages are the main distractions. You may close twitter with no problems, but if something tells you, you need to check twitter then you lose the focus in what you are doing.

This three things will help you improve your productivity and avoid some distractions.

1. Chats (Digsby, msn, google or wherever you used). Every time my friends have something to say to me, they use msn because I’m normally around.  So I started to close my chats when I’m working in something and I want to finish without losing my concentration.

2. Cellphone “mute and no vibration”. No text messages or DMs from twitter, or any other bip that makes you check what’s going on. I have to make an extra effort to do this two months ago, but still very tricky for me, 99% of the text messages are from the opposite sex and that creates an extra distraction. I’m doing much better right now.

3. Thunderbird (or email). This one is the main reason for my low productivity and makes me lose all the focus. This is a big problem, I receive hundreds of emails and I have several accounts, so Thunderbird helps me a lot, but also distract me a lot too. Now I only check emails when I’m not doing any particular work and only couple of times a day.

I don’t mean you need to be completely unplugged, but if you need to finish some important work that three things will help you finish the work faster. If anybody have more tips, I’ll like to hear it.

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