Content Nausea: Tips to Stay On Track

July 7, 2016

“Will, you have a blog post due today.” “No problem, let me brainstorm some ideas….”

First email comes through – “can you take a review?” Ok, do this quickly then back to the brainstorming. Skype – “do you have an example?” Send that over, then back to the blog. “ThooooomY has liked your photo” – Wait, really? You’re not Thom Yorke, just some robot. Back to the blog.

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Three hours later, and still no blog post. What gives? Too much content, too many notifications. How can anyone stay on track with flashing signs, constant beeps and blips, and wretched “phantom vibrations.” Checking email, looking at your phone, managing notification pop-ups – these modern tools meant to keep you informed are actually bringing you down, and they’re affecting your work flow. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Turn that phone upside down

For whatever reason, my phone receives emails faster than my computer. If my phone is in my pocket, I’ll feel that email before I can get eyes on it. It’s engrained in our systems to check that email right when it comes through. What if it’s important? Ok, pull out the phone, unlock it, navigate to the new email, and…. Spam. What was I writing before? Couldn’t tell you.

Take your phone out of your pocket, and flip it on its face. When you see your phone light up, it’s nearly impossible not to check it. Take care of the task at hand, then you can scroll through the endlessness of iPhone wonders.

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  1. “Do Not Disturb”

Skype, Slack and instant messaging in the workplace are great at times, horrible at others. Tools that help teams communicate quickly are great when you’re discussing the plan of action. When you’re knocking out some writing, an award submission or writing an email, they often disturb and distract.

Get in the habit of flipping to “Do Not Disturb” mode. Messages will come in, but you won’t see those pesky notifications every time someone sends a thumbs up. You can focus on your work and chime in after with your mic-dropping update – “finished…everything.”

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  1. Email Filters

Emails… so many emails. Your inbox sees over a hundred emails a day, but how many are time-sensitive? How many do you reply to? ProfNet, HAROs and newsletters – all great sources of information, but they can usually bog down your inbox.

50 unread messages might give you a heart attack. Filter non-time sensitive emails into a folder. They won’t pop up on your phone and they won’t come with a notification on your computer. Check them every couple times a day to stay on track, but don’t let their presence take you away from writing a press release.

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If you have any question about my tips, shoot me an email. I’ll get back to you after I’ve finished all my work.

–Will

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