Distractions Killing Your Flow? Try This Method.

Here is a way to prevent an interruption from stopping you dead in your tracks.

learn more about Jason Womack

By Jason Womack


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are distractions getting in your way? Have you noticed that many times when you are focusing on your work and are approaching that momentum where things start to flow easily, you get interrupted?

Most entrepreneurs have created productivity habits that work for them, yet upon closer inspection, they realize that when they are trying to get something done, tasks often take more time than had been originally budgeted. This is caused by distractions: A co-worker who needs something from them, a phone call from a potential client, a team member with questions about a project.

Related: What the NFL Taught Me About Being a Motivated Entrepreneur

Every time you are interrupted or distracted, the energy you were building from moving your project forward is halted, and you need to start over. Too many times, you need to gather new strength to pick up where you left off, and you may waste valuable minutes trying to figure out exactly where that was.

Science continues to prove what our intuition knows: Interruptions do impact productivity. However, there may be a positive or negative impact to your productivity. According to University of California, Irvine researcher Dr. Gloria Mark, there may be a difference between the different kinds of distractions or interruptions. Interruptions that add to the task at hand make us more productive. Alternatively, interruptions on topics different from what we're working on force us to change our work rhythms, strategies and even mental states.

So what can we do about it? Identify one piece of work that deserves about 45 minutes of focused attention. Then go to a place where you can be alone. It can be a different office or conference room or even the nearby coffee shop. By getting away from your desk, you will not be available for phone calls or to check your emails.

Related: 3 Steps to Stop Being Busy and Start Being Productive

If you take your laptop with you, remember that this is time to focus on work, so avoid doing anything unrelated to this specific task.

Can't leave your desk? You can still have a "meeting with yourself" by simply use a digital timer to hold you accountable to a 45-minute work session. (My current favorite countdown timer is www.e.ggtimer.com.)

Before starting a work session, think of the people that might interrupt you -- it may be a team member, a client or even a manager -- and interrupt them first. You can use the time before your focus period to get in contact with them and anticipate anything they may need from you. You should also mention that you will be unavailable during the next 45 minutes because you will focus on a specific piece of work that needs to get done.

They will understand and over time, they will respect this focus time and avoid interrupting you.

This will not only save you time every day, but it can also make your team more efficient and independent. Go ahead and try it for five days.

Related: How to Train Your Brain to Stay Focused

Jason Womack

Cofounder, www.GetMomentum.com

Jason W. Womack is the CEO of The Womack Company, an international training firm that helps busy professionals be more productive through coaching and consulting. He is co-founder of the Get Momentum Leadership Academy, author of Your Best Just Got Better (Wiley, 2012) and co-author with his wife, Jodi Womack, of Get Momentum: How To Start When You’re Stuck (Wiley, 2016). Since 2000 he has coached leaders across industries and trained them in the art of increasing their workplace productivity and achieving personal happiness.


Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Kevin Greenridge was traveling from Honduras to Miami on June 4, 2022, on AA Flight 614 when he went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious mid-flight.


How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

Influencer's Team Speaks Out After Being Slammed For Selling Instagram DMs for $10,000: 'False and Inaccurate'

Emma Chamberlain's merchandise website went viral after one fan noticed a particularly pricey offering.

Science & Technology

How This Innovative Technology is Making Healthcare More Affordable and Accessible

As part of telehealth, mHealth can improve the healthcare system by increasing access to care, improving communication and saving money for patients and providers.