Dealing With Distraction

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Dealing With Distraction

The Information Overload Research Group, reports that knowledge workers in the United States waste 25% of their time dealing with their huge and growing data streams, costing the economy $997 billion annually. That is a significant amount of time being wasted by people who are increasingly feeling overworked and stressed because of the volumes of data that they need to process through. We end up wasting attention and energy on relatively unimportant information and interactions which keep us busy, but produce very little value.  Stanford University studies have shown, people who regularly juggle several streams of content do not pay attention, memorise, or manage their tasks as well as those who focus on one thing at a time resulting in reduced productivity and engagement.
Most people agree that the solution is to control the digital overload rather than letting it control you. How we go about doing that is a topic of heated debate, with technologists and psychologists taking different views of the best route forward. Technologists propose fighting distraction by making strategic us of digital tools, while psychologists encourage turning away from technology driven pursuits in favour of energy-enhancing activities. It’s logical to then see how we can blend these two views so that we can control our technology and our lives in a way that brings meaning to work and interactions without continual distraction. 
While many people feel completely overwhelmed by technology, it is often not the technology that is the problem, but how it is being utilised. The act of reaching for our phones every 6 minutes to check information, and make sure we haven’t missed something that may be important, when we know that most of it can probably wait is an example of this. The primary issue is that we are used to being interrupted by technology.
The key to successfully making use of technology to enhance our lives, and in so doing, allow ourselves the space to take breaks from constant connection, we need to ensure that we are using technology correctly. Many of us own software and applications that we don’t know how to turn notifications off on, let alone how to use it most effectively.  The 1st step is ensuring that we have the technology set up to help us, and that we know what we need from it, and shut off what we don’t need to minimise the amount of digital noise in our lives. Once set up is done, we can process to learning various shortcuts and integrations to make our lives simpler. The Teamwork Projects email integration for example, allows users to work from their email accounts (if this is where they spend most of their time) and create and work on tasks directly from their email inbox instead of trying to navigate across multiple tabs at once, and splitting information. If users prefer to compartmentalise information, it is also a simple 1,2,3 to create a task from an email as you work through your emails, and delete the mail so that when you log in to your Teamwork Projects account to work on project tasks, you know that they are all there ready and waiting for you.
When you have taken the time to work through your digital systems, do a digital audit and clean up, and implement systems such as email auto-categorising then you are more able to be in charge of what you work on and when, without worrying about the continual distraction of the pinging notifications. By taking control of your digital space, you are more secure in taking a pause from your digital space because you can be certain that you will be notified of IMPORTANT things if necessary, but everything else can be dealt with as needed. Increased productivity doesn’t mean you need to do more – it means you can take time to love yourself and your mental and physical wellbeing more.
If you are working with Teamwork Projects and would like to be able to feel less overwhelmed by task notifications, and more in control of your work, check out the Teamwork Training Zone, or speak to your Teamwork Projects sales person about setting up a consultation package with us. We would love to help you be more in control of your digital world.
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