How to Prevent Digital Distractions for your Remote Teams by Jay T T T T Get notified with latest updates July 20, 2020September 20, 2021 Teams globally have been dependent on digital tools to collaborate and get work done while operating remotely. This has also led to significant digital distraction and proved counter-productive at times for the remote teams. Teams are constantly trying to find ways to keep their digital distractions to the minimum, to get their work done on time, maintain optimal productivity levels as well as a healthy work-life balance. Given we all are remote, our offices never sleep J It may sound like a good thing for business but in the long run it isn’t so. A healthy balance and clear separation of personal and work hours is a must to operate at high productivity levels for your remote teams. Using multiple digital tools for remote task management & online collaboration is a business necessity of the current times. However, handling digital distractions & keeping them to the minimum requires a mindful approach. Improve remote collaboration with Orangescrum Try it free Let’s take a look at some of the quick tips on how prevent the negative impact of digital tools. Contents Minimize cell phone usageSetup a reward systemMute ALL NotificationsUse the Time-boxing TechniqueReduce use of unwanted digital platformsWrapping Up! Minimize cell phone usage It is very easy to get distracted to the notification dings on your mobile. Some people are overly addicted to their cell phones. So, setting your cell phones away from you during work would be a good start to prevent distractions. A mild approach would be to turn the mobile into silent mode and continue working. But the key is to keep your eyes away from the mobile screen. A practical tip I personally use is put the phone screen side down. That way I only look at it when there is a call or if I need to use the actual “cellular services”. One notification and you end up spending maybe half an hour or more on your cell. This is your productive time away from work. And for every distraction it takes approx. 25 minutes for the human brain to get back to the concentration zone to work optimally. Be judicious and find what works for you and keep your mobile as far away as possible if it really impacts your work. The ones who are lucky enough to be not dictated by their mobile have other problems to deal with. Setup a reward system We humans need constant appreciation and pats on the back to keep on going. So, if you are a social media fanatic, then set aside specific breaks to address the social media craving. Smart professionals would reward themselves with dedicated social media time upon completion of specific tasks of the day. You can also plan out your breaks to sync with your social media presence requirements. Thus work on your high priorities tasks of the day, achieve a project milestone and treat yourself with a quick bout of Facebook, Instagram and twitter feeds, whatever is your preferred drug! This way you focus on your work optimally because you know you have a reward waiting, plus you save yourself unwanted distractions soon. Mute ALL Notifications May sound a bit too harsh. But try it for a day. All social media apps allow for options to manage your notifications. Mute them all. Or start with just the one app that generates the most notifications for you. Observe your day, how frequently were you distracted, how many activities did you complete, ascertain how mindful you were during the meetings & discussions. These will give you a good indication of how you were able to make good use of your time through the day when you had minimal distractions. Trust me, it does work. Once you have tasted initial success, it is time to mute notifications across all platforms. They will do more good than harm. This way you maintain a disciplined approach to email notifications, chat requests from teams and status update notifications. Everything gets streamlined and attend to as required in a meaningful manner. It isn’t just about distraction at work. They take away precious family time too. You will realize the benefits within a couple of days. Use the Time-boxing Technique Time boxing is a technique that includes taking frequent breaks throughout the day to be highly productive. The idea is basically to set aside key time periods for specific activities throughout the day. If you have noticed, most CXOs have a very strong email/inbox management regimen. They responds to emails only at specific hours of the day and do not check their inboxes frequently. Also, some project managers and business leaders have their own regimen about holding specific meetings and discussions. Find out the key hours of the day when you are at your productive best. Keep activities that require significant mental ability and firepower for such times. And plan the meetings, emails responses and chats etc. for other hours of the day. Knowing what activities are important, what needs to be done within stipulated times will go a long way in using the time boxing technique to your advantage. Thus, you can also set your social media time into your day at your most unproductive hours and while being on top of your project deliverables. This is specifically helpful for remote teams as they can decide when to work on which aspects and sync their hours accordingly with other team members. Reduce use of unwanted digital platforms This is the tough part. But the most crucial one. Work or personal, identify tools that are multi-functional. Using a new tool for every other activity isn’t a good practice. Not only do they need unwanted management time, but also scatter your key information, add to unwanted overheads, license costs and distractions. Look for tools with holistic capabilities that cover multiple work functions Imagine continuous app hopping for emails, updates, discussions, meeting notes etc. While dealing with remote teams it is all the more important to keep digital exposure to the minimum. Because every switch between apps will take time, cause confusion, scatter information and will make it increasingly difficult to manage the accesses and privileges. On top of it, chances of your remote team getting confused and information mismanagement are also high. Hence, choose platforms that cover most of your work activities single-handedly. This will also keep your license costs low. Increase 3X Productivity with Orangescrum Centralized project, task and resource management for growing teams Get Started Free Please enter your email. Wrapping Up! Having a thorough sense of your productivity is the first step towards protecting and enhancing it. If none of the above tips work, keep trying till the time you find one that does the trick for you. But, sincere efforts have proven most of the above tricks work wonders in strengthening your time management, task management and project management activities. More so if you are a program or people manager with a large remote team. If you have not time-boxed your team interactions, customer meetings, project planning sessions even 24 hours would always be less for you. How would you then carve out time for self-care, childcare or family? Remember – “Genius is also in knowing when to stop!” So, is it time for you to stop you digital distractions? If yes, checkout Orangescrum today! A robust task, time, team, collaboration and agile project management tool with mobile app, custom user roles, Google drive, Dropbox, GitHub & Slack integrations that cover all your communication and work management needs.