One of the biggest pain with working in digital media is how easy it is to get distracted. Since I am always ‘connected’ it’s not always easy to remain focused. I’ve been testing with a few new approaches lately and these 3 are working pretty well.

1. Set up E-mail filters

15th June 2013 Update: GMail’s new tabbed layout seems to more or less function the same way as how I recommend setting up filters, their solution is a lot more elegant, so I suggest you try it out. Check out this handy article at Lifehacker.com
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I am literally subscribed to tens of newsletters, some to do with my job and others on areas of interests and it was getting incredibly distracting. I’ve since unsubscribed myself from a good chuck but there are still far too many for my liking. Whenever I see that number pop up next to the gmail tab, it’s impossible for me to resist checking it, just in case it’s an emergency with something I have to fix. Then there are the emails with an incredibly interesting subject lines that I just have to read there and then.
It was just too much, so I’ve started using Gmail filters. ALL the “essential” newsletters now skips the inbox and are stored  inside a News folder that I only check when I am on a break. It’s been fantastic!
Here’s a wonderful post on on Mashable on using GMail Filters
gmail-filter

2. Keep a to do list but keep it simple!

Don’t waste your energy in trying to keep a todo list in your head, write it down, either on paper or use my fav project management app – Trello. but make sure you keep your tasks list short. Anything
Make sure you don’t over do your to do list. If  something is more than 3 months old, than it cannot be important – so JUST DELETE IT or create a back burner list  elsewhere, such as on Evernote. The aim is to keep your list short so you can scan all the items and more importantly to make sure you don’t ever feel overwhelmed by the list and end up doing nothing.
trello-screen

3. Limit the time you spend on social media

Control the time you spend on social media and ONLY allow your self a limited time slot. I only allow myself to go on Facebook and Twitter between on the hour and 5 mins past the hour (9am – 9:05am, 10am – 10:05am, 11am – 11:05am…etc) and If I miss the slot, tough! I will have to wait til the next slot.
I do admit I have a very bad habit of going on to facebook or twitter when I have a lot of work to do. It’s a bit like, if I don’t start the problem it doesn’t exist. This method helps me keep my social media addiction under control. There’s even an asap science video on this very unhelpful habit.

Other methods

I have flirt around with other techniques such the pomodoro technique which separate your tasks into 25mins slots. It can work wonders for some tasks, but other times it’s not particularly helpful when you get in “the zone”.
Do you have any productivity tips? Please share with us using the comment box below.