How to Build and Defend your Productive Space

We’ve all thought it before: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where I can get my most important work done, undisturbed? It may seem too good to be true, but it turns out you CAN have this place. It’s called building yourself a bunker, a place where you can be your most productive self. All it requires is some planning.

Building a bunker isn’t about locking yourself in a dark and dingy basement office — although if that is where you get your most productive work done — then by all means, claim the dungeon as yours. For most of us though, building a bunker is about fortifying your workspace in several key ways so that you can focus to your highest potential.

  1. Find your bunker
  2. Store provisions
  3. Sweep for mines
  4. Enlist support

Find Your Bunker

Once we’ve committed to focusing on our ONE Thing, we need to figure out a location that is conducive to productivity. Is your office building or home office a place where you can lock out distractions and interruptions? Designating a spot as the official location of a bunker may take more than simply appointing it as such. You’ll need to truly transform it into a place that can withstand interruptions. This means taking other steps, such as hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign from the doorknob, or letting your cube mates know that the headphones you are wearing are to eliminate outside noise while you work during your time block. It could even mean finding an open conference room and locking yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the office. Around our offices, we’ve seen co-workers go as far as placing screens and curtains around their desks to block out distractions. When it comes down to it, the bottom line here is to create a space for yourself where you are not tempted by distraction. If focusing on your ONE Thing requires picking up your computer and heading to a coffee shop on the far edge of town for the morning, rest assured a remote location can act as a bunker just as effectively. Just be sure to discuss the scenario with your boss ahead of time to get his or her buy-in.

Store Provisions

Once the “where” has been determined, building a bunker for your ONE Thing requires storing the provisions you may use while you are there. That means making sure you have everything you might need, from the supplies you might use to the food and drinks you might get a hankering for, during your time in the bunker. Having everything on hand means we don’t give ourselves a ready-made excuse to break up our time blocks by grabbing that snack in the vending machine or extra notebook from our shelf. We are ready to go to work – and nothing can deter us.

Sweep for Mines

We cannot be deterred as long as we acknowledge the third key step to building a successful bunker: sweeping the area for mines. We need to scan our designated bunker space and get rid of anything that might unexpectedly interrupt or distract us while we are working on our ONE Thing. If you bring your phone with you, turn it to silent. If you are working on your computer, close your email program and your browser and turn your notifications off. These seemingly harmless little distractions can take big chunks of time from our time block. The key is to avoid them all together.

Enlist Support

You’ve picked a location for your bunker, stocked it with supplies, and eliminated all self-sabotaging distractions. Now what? Getting the backing of those around us is an important step that should not be overlooked. Without the buy-in and support of the people who are likely to be doing some of the distracting, your bunker won’t be as secure as it can be. This is where effective communication is essential. Talk to the people in your world ahead of time and let them know what you plan to do, including what you plan to accomplish while you are in your bunker and when you will be back on the grid to interact with them again. You will find that as long as you are able to set expectations about when they have access to you, people won’t be bothered by you going MIA to get important work done. In fact, they will likely become some of your biggest advocates.

Taking these steps to build and fortify a productivity bunker is one of the best ways to ensure that you maintain a time block for your ONE Thing. What do you do in your bunker to battle distractions?

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