Eliminate These 8 Distractions That Are Killing Your Productivity

We all want more time in the day, so don't lose precious minutes or hours to these time wasters.

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By Jonathan Long • Jun 23, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As an entrepreneur, you know how valuable every single minute of your day is. We all would do almost anything for more time.

Sometimes your work environment and personal habits can waste precious time without you even knowing. Here are eight common distractions that are responsible for killing productivity.

1. Social media. Facebook status updates, tweets and Instagram pictures are a great way to stay connected to friends and family, but they can also suck valuable time away from your day. Our culture is addicted to social media. Unless you are using it to promote your business, it can wait. Those pictures and status updates aren't going anywhere.

Related: 3 Ways to Avoid Distractions and Be More Productive

2. Cell phones. Not only are phone calls and text messages a major distraction, but most of us have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and various other social apps on our smartphones. While putting the phone on silent mode is better than nothing, it may vibrate across your desk, eventually peaking your interest and causing you to check it. If you really want to eliminate distractions, turn off your phone or set it to airplane mode while you work.

3. Chaotic work environment. Your office environment can be a major distraction when you are trying to get work done. While it is great to be accessible to your entire team, it is also important to have quiet space when it is time to get down to business. Establish a closed-door policy and put a small whiteboard on your office door, so team members can leave you a note about what they need when the door is closed.

4. Email refresh syndrome. Many entrepreneurs could spend their entire day responding to emails. Ever find yourself constantly hitting the refresh button to get your email? Set it to auto-refresh every 30 or 60 minutes. You can then quickly scan your inbox and respond to urgent matters accordingly and address the rest at scheduled times. Responding to emails first thing in the morning before your day starts, once in the middle of the day, and then again before you leave for the day will help you keep current.

Related: 5 Simple Cures to Work Smarter and Save Time

5. Internet browsing. It is very easy to jump on a website for what you think will be a quick minute, but then several minutes or even hours pass. Checking sports scores, reading your favorite blog and keeping track of Justin Bieber's most recent shenanigans can wait. Leave the Internet browsing at work to the nine-to-fivers.

6. Taking unscheduled appointments. Not only will taking unscheduled appointments cut into your productivity for the day, but it also sends a message to the particular individual that your time is not valuable. Sure, emergencies pop up and sometimes you need to take a last-minute appointment, but don't make it a habit.

7. Cigarette breaks. Back in the '70s you could have just lit up in the office, but these days most office complexes have designated smoking areas outside, requiring smokers to take the stairs or elevator down to get their nicotine fix. A couple of minutes to gather belongings, a few minutes to get outside, another few minutes to puff away, and then a few more minutes to shoot the breeze with the smoking crew. Multiply this with a few cigarette breaks a day and it amounts to a nice solid block of time that could be used much more efficiently.

8. Unexpected friends and family office visits. You are an entrepreneur, which means that you most likely have friends and family that think you sit around all day barking orders as you sip on a tropical drink while being fanned down. Unexpected visits take away from your production and also sets a bad example.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I am constantly trying to limit distractions that take time away from my company. What other distractions do you eliminate to make your day more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

Related: Distractions Killing Your Flow? Try This Method.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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