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Useful Distractions

Image by Kemal Sanli - kemal-sanli.com

What are your 'useful distractions'? It seems straight-forward when aiming to increase productivity, that you remove all distractions. But labeling all distractions as 'bad', and therefore things to getting rid of can have an overall negative effect. Leading to the greatest productivity killer of all. Burnout.⠀

Below we will share some 'useful distractions' to consider making, or keeping, as part of your working day.

The Coffee (or Tea) Break⠀

It's simple to do and can be a small joy. Stopping to make a hot drink takes your mind off a problem for a little while, giving you the mental space needed to solve problems or come up with new ideas. If planned in, it also slices up a 7-8 hour working day into smaller, more manageable blocks of focused time.⠀

Stay Social

Speech bubble with the word 'Hi' inside
Image by Jordon Cheung

A challenge for anyone working from home, as social circles naturally become smaller. Over time it's easy to become siloed or isolated. So before that happens (or if it's happened already), build ways to stay social.

You could try:

  • Having lunch at the same time as others in your house (or remotely over Zoom)⠀
  • Scheduling calls with friends - It might seem over the top to 'put it in the diary', but people are busy and this makes it easier to schedule around and remember. These could be functional meetings, like asking for feedback, or informal chats.⠀
  • Reaching out to people that could become a mentor, accountability partner or provide you with useful contacts⠀

Include a walk or exercise

Legs walking up stairs
Image by Stutpak

When job seeking or working from home, you benefit from not having to commute. Win! However, it is easy to misuse this time or give it away too easily. Resist just starting earlier or sleeping in longer, and instead build into your 'going to work' routine a short walk or exercise.

Leaving the house, even if you're just walking around the block, can create the needed separation between life and work, and get you in the right mindset. It can also clear your mind, be a way to deal with stress, and boost your overall energy levels.

Pro tip: If waking up on time is a challenge bring a fun activity into your morning routine. Like watching an episode of your favourite program, setting some time aside for interest, or treating yourself to a nice breakfast. Once your brain has associated the morning with this 'treat', you'll be able to fight the desire to hit the snooze button.

Side Projects and Hobbies

Stamps on paper showing different interests like fishing, photography and gardening
Icons by Iconixar

Maintain and develop the skills you already have by taking on a project, progressing a hobby, or starting a training course, alongside your job seeking. Doing so will also give you a current and relevant subject to talk about at your next interview.⠀

It's also important to keep some hobbies and interests separate from 'work' and see them as a way to relax. The best way to keep these separated is to decide which you'll do during work hours and which you'll do in your personal time.

Adam Ellison

Adam Ellison

The founder and course mentor at The Monday Morning Club

This article was updated on May 24, 2021