Can You Stay on Task for 5 Minutes?

5 Minutes on Task

We live in a world of distractions.

Cell phones. Email. Text messages. Notifications. Pop-ups. And more.

How do you get your work done if you are constantly being interrupted?

I’ll bet you don’t make it through this post without something buzzing, ringing, flashing, or distracting your attention.

A Workplace of Distractions

The average worker gets interrupted 15+ times an hour. And we wonder why work doesn’t get done.

Most employees are interrupted every three minutes.

Could you get your work done if I interrupted you every three minutes?

(You’d probably want to throw something at me after the first few times…)

Yet, in essence, that is what is happening in most workplaces.

Another interesting fact about workplace interruptions is that many of them are self-inflicted.

How often do you interrupt yourself by unnecessarily checking email or surfing the web? (Just to look up one thing.)

“Almost half of workplace interruptions are self-inflicted.” (Tweet this Quote)

Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to interrupting your work?

Stay on Task for 5 Minutes

So, how do you get work done if you are constantly getting interrupted?

I have a simple challenge for you: Stay on task for 5 minutes.

How much more could you get done if you could stay on task?

If you can avoid even a small percentage of workplace interruptions, you could get hours of time back in your day. But, how do you avoid these distractions?

Here are some tips for “Staying on Task for Five Minutes:”

  • Set a Timer – Set a physical timer. Pledge not to change your focus until the alarm goes off. You will build up your focus endurance little-by-little.
  • Tune Out the Distractions – Many distractions can be shut out if you actively ignore them. Put on your productivity blinders or even your headphones to tune out the background noise.
  • Turn off the Tech – Technology is a great enabler, but is also the source of many interruptions. Turn of the ringer. Turn off the email notifications. Turn off the alerts.
  • Don’t Multi-task – Finish the job at hand before you start something new. Multi-tasking divides your attention. You are creating your own distractions when you multi-task. Soon, you have 57 things started and nothing done.
  • Isolate Yourself – Close the door. Go to your productive place. (Sometimes it is where you work…)

Stay on Target

Stay on target. Focus. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Don’t put that task down. Don’t answer that phone. Don’t let interruptions break your concentration.

If you can stay on task for just 5 minutes, you’ll get a lot more done today.

Share Your Thoughts: Can you stay on task for 5 minutes? What techniques do you use to stay on task?

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://jorgesilvestrini.com/ Jorge Silvestrini

    I’ll be right back to comment on your post…

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  • TiffG

    I use the 30/30 app, a fun take on the timer. Some days I’m just tired and unmotivated. I set my timer for 15-30 minutes (10 minutes if I’m in really bad shape), give it a task name, and force myself to work on that task until my timer goes off. I schedule stretching breaks, lunch, etc., between tasks. I can get through a whole day doing this. It works! Frankly, I feel better about myself when I’m productive.

  • http://theoptimizedhome.wordpress.com/ Hector Thomas

    Good advice, similar to the Pomodoro technique, but much more doable. As sad is it is, focusing on a single task for 25 minutes is a near impossibility in most offices. Five minutes is a great starting point because productivity and focus is about building habits. Once the habits are in place, you can start taking your productivity to the next level. Days where you crush it are great, but habits are the true keystone to sustainable productivity.

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  • http://www.thedailysaint.com/ Mike St. Pierre

    Craig, thanks for this post! As a result, I’ve installed a new pomodoro timer app on my iPhone and it’s making a difference. Thanks again.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Great to hear. Timers are a great productivity booster. :)

  • http://www.convergingworship.org/ Ronnie Reid

    Great advice! Thanks for your…oh sorry, I was distracted! Seriously, your site is a wonderful resource.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Funny… :)

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