Get more done by minimizing distractions from email and social media, as well as by setting deadlines and goals, and breaking up projects into manageable tasks, writes Naphtali Hoff. The Pomodoro technique can help you if you’re struggling to lock in, Hoff adds.



In a previous series for SmartBrief, I laid out my five-step productivity process for leaders, which I then turned into a Productivity Blueprint. This post is the first to dive deeper into the third of my five steps, doing for maximal productivity.

Okay. So, we’ve planned our work (Step 1) and put systems into place to keep our people informed and rowing in the right direction (Step 2.) The next step (Step 3) toward increased productivity is to roll up our sleeves and get work done.

The problem with our quest for doing more is that we’ve never been more distracted at work than we are today. In addition to the many “traditional” distractors that have plagued workplace productivity for decades, such as long (coffee and/or smoke) breaks, noisy co-workers and in-person demands on our attention (in the form of “drop in” conversations and scheduled meetings,

) newer technologies like smartphones and the internet have added other dimensions to our distractibility.According to research cited by the Society for Human Resource Management:Workers are interrupted by e-mail, instant messages and other digital distractions nearly 14 times per day on average.

The average US office worker spends more than three hours each day trying to keep up with work email.The average knowledge worker checks in with communication tools every six minutes.When people transition their attention away from an unfinished task to attend to a distraction, they lose time, and their subsequent task performance suffers.