Small Bites: The true cost of getting distracted and ways to avoid it! 

Authored by Coach Abby Sadauckas

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

Getting distracted

This morning I enjoyed the rare experience of focus.

Generally, I develop my weekly computer “to-do” list on Sundays when my partner and I compare our calendars. This week I had two days without off-farm obligations- yahoo! How did I ensure I’d actually complete the tasks I wanted?

First, I made a big list of things I’d like to get done this week (both big and small). I grouped them by what I needed the internet to do, versus no internet. Then, I prioritized each by how good it would feel to get it done. I separated big tasks and noted how much time to allocate. I put one big task per day based on what I know are my prime productivity windows. Then, I grouped together similar tasks, such as emails. These could be done in the evening as they don’t require me to be “at my prime.” Finally, I broke the big tasks into components such as, “what needed to be done before I even turned on my wifi hotspot?” I also thought about any preparation (research or web cruising) that could be done at another time (think non-prime hours!) Before I knew it, I had a detailed plan of online tasks, things to research, and deadlines to do them.squirrel in grass

Time blocking, as I just described can be a big help in avoiding distraction.

Who distracts me most?  ME!

This article in Fast Company really drove home that point by introducing the phrase, “self-distracting.” This is the phenomenon whereby my internet loads a mite slow and so I just pick up my phone….. five minutes later, it can be challenging to remember what exactly I was doing, let alone get back into the task. In fact, it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to the task at hand. More examples of how to avoid interruptions in my next small bite.

Need help in figuring out how to prioritize what’s important to you & how to get it done? The  Farm Coaching team can help!