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10 Ways to Maximize Productivity and Eliminate Distractions

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Do you have trouble with productivity at work? If the answer is "no," you're lying. Or you're a robot. 

To help our own team get more done, we asked everyone in the Causely office to share their favorite tips about maximizing productivity and eliminating distractions. 

And because a world with fewer distractions is a happier one, we wanted to share our productivity tips with you. Read below to see how Causely makes things happen...

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(At Causely, we fit 22 employees, two full-size couches, a kitchen
and a one-person bathroom in a 2,000 square foot office. It's tight.)

1. Get An Early Start 

Studies show that people who start their day early are more productive. Several people on our team agreed. Start strong, stay strong. To get an early start yourself, try adopting this morning routine that many people on the Causely team follow:

  • Get up - Whatever time makes sense for your schedule. 
  • Work out - Harvard Business Review recommends making exercise a part of your job.
  • Coffee - There are many benefits of coffee, like mental alertness. Just be careful, too much coffee can crush productivity. 
  • Meditate - Brooke, Causely HR Director, practices gratefulness in her daily meditation.
  • Plan Your Top 3 - Figure out the three most important things to get done that day.

For even more morning routine ideas, check out this podcast episode we created.

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(Jeromie claims that drinking coffee from his Hulk mug increases productivity by 1,000%)

2. Detach From Social Media

Although Causely helps business use social media more effectively, even we know that limiting time on social media is a good thing. 

Forbes did a study on how social media contributes to wasting time. "The winners for the time-loss warp are Tumblr (57%), Facebook (52%), Twitter (17%), Instagram (11%) and SnapChat (4%)." 

If you lack the willpower to stay away from social media, try an app called Freedom.

3. Turn Off Notifications

The NY Times might think you need an alert each time there's a "breaking story." But you don't.

For Mac users, you can eliminate pesky alerts by going to System Preferences > Notifications. Fine tune which interruptions you want or just turn everything off by employing Do Not disturb mode.

Same goes for your phone. Do Not Disturb mode can be addicting once you realize how well it lets you concentrate.

Don't want to ignore your family? Most smart phones have a priority mode which allows notifications from specified contacts in case of emergency. 

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4. Schedule Time For Email 

If you always keep your email open, you might be doing it wrong. Experts found that checking email constantly is anything but productive. 

We're not saying don't check email. Instead, just check it once or twice a day. And cap each session at 30 minutes.

At Causely, we've found a better way to communicate internally with an app called Slack. It's fun and it keeps our inboxes clutter free. Here's another business that swears by Slack. 

5. Use Soundproof Headphones

LSU did a study on how distracting noises can hurt cognitive performance. With 22 people in a small space, we know exactly what that's like. 

Our solution is giant soundproof headphones. Our staff favorites include these models made by Shure, Sennheiser, and Sently

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(Brittany wears these giant headphones every day. She claims they
help her focus on all three of her computer screens at once.)

6. Prioritize 

We've found the key to prioritizing is not trying to do everything at once. And a great method for choosing what to do is called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.

If you can identify what those "20%" efforts are, prioritizing becomes much easier. You can find a great template for using the Pareto Principle here.

Once you figure out what to work on, check out these task management apps:

  • Wunderlist - Perfect for syncing personal to-dos across multiple devices.
  • Asana - This is what we use and it's great for keeping track of a fast-working team. 
  • Trello - Used best for team collaboration and project management. 

7. Change Your Scenery 

Staring at your computer for hours can be mind-numbing. To break up the monotony, try changing scenery and spending time outside. Here are some of our team's go-to tactics:

  • Break up your work day by practicing the Pomodoro Technique
  • Go for a 5-10 min walk outside. 
  • Move to a different space in your office. 
  • Get a chair and work outside. 
  • Work from a coffee shop. 
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(Our office is so small, we created a patio in the parking lot. We get a lot of weird looks, but it works.)

8. Rock Out To 80's Music

Music is great for drowning out the hustle and bustle of the office. And it can help inspire creativity. The important thing is to pick music that you enjoy. Our team listens to everything from 80's pop to Rush, from Debussy to Disney music (don't judge until you try it!). 

If you haven't signed up for Spotify yet, now's the time. With plenty of curated playlists designed to help you focus, you can't afford not to try it.

If music isn't your thing, we suggest an app called Noisli that allows you to escape right into a thunderstorm, a babbling brook, or a forest of chirping birds. 

9. Play "Red Light, Green light" 

Interruptions are the biggest distractions. Bob from finance needs to show you the new excel spreadsheet, Jim from marketing has a question about ads, Lucy from sales needs a new sales pitch. It can go on. All. Day. Long. And before you know it, the day is gone. 

That's why we started the "Red Light, Green Light" system. We have these tiny USB-powered lights that plug right into our computers. When someone's light is red, it means he's focused and can't talk. If it's green, it means he's open for questions. 

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(Notice the little red light at the bottom right hand of Dave's screen.
We may or may not have interrupted him to take the photo.)

10. Have Fun With Your Co-Workers

To be blunt, all work and no play sucks. And it kills productivity! Here are a few things we do to have fun with each other and create a great workplace.

  • Staff Lunches - Every Friday, we treat the entire staff to a group lunch. Taking a break and eating a meal together is a perfect way to foster community. 
  • Ted Talk Tuesday - Every Tuesday, we pack our lunches and watch a Ted Talk together. 
  • Monthly Culture Events - Last month, we had a ping-pong competition. Let's just say it got heated.
  • Superhero Team Names - Don't take yourself too seriously; pretend being a superhero from time to time. Trust us, wearing a Deadpool mask during your next staff meeting will definitely change things up!

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How do you maximize productivity and eliminate distractions?

We're not saying these tips will make you as productive as these people. But each of these tips has helped someone on our team — and we hope that a few of them will help you, too.

If you've got some tips to add, leave a comment below! 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Rougeux

John is co-founder and CMO at Causely. When he's not trying to build the most philanthropic company in the world, he's probably hanging out with his wife and three daughters in Lexington, KY. You can also find John on Twitter and LinkedIn.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Watson

Matt is Customer Success Manager at Causely, where he does everything in his power to help our customers succeed. He loves sports, his wife, his dog, and the great outdoors, but not in that order. He may love his dog more than sports. You can find Matt on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werner

Sarah is a writer, marketer, and brand specialist. She has experience in both non-profit marketing and financial development as well as for-profit content marketing and social media. She holds degrees in English and Art from Asbury University. When she’s not writing content for Causely, you’ll find her outside with a book or camera enjoying the company of trees. You can also find Sarah on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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