It’s a beautiful day and new week at work.
You plan to achieve a lot more this week to make up for lost time.
Deadlines are fast approaching and you need to finish up certain assignments.
However, there are so many distractions and you can barely concentrate.
In a research by Gloria Mark from the University of California, Irvine, it was reported that the average worker gets distracted every 11 minutes.
That’s a lot!
Don’t you agree?
Well what then can we do to eliminate or reduce these distractions?
Let us analyze different forms of distractions and how to avoid them.
Making a list of things to do is great.
But when you have a really long list placed directly in front of you, you get distracted easily by trying to glance over to see what you have covered on the list.
Another scenario is a desk full of paper work.
You can tackle this by clearing your desk and having a short but effective list to reduce distractions and increase productivity.
This form of distraction comes with the job.
If you work under a supervisor or micromanager, there is the tendency of being called upon for a quick meeting, report presentation, updates and so on.
Make it a habit to give your supervisor daily updates and also work on developing your skills to become more independent to reduce constant monitoring and distraction.
- Noisy Surrounding
Staying focused at work is key for increased productivity.
Sometimes, your office setting could on its own be the source of distraction. For example if you are in an open office and happen to be seated close to a photocopier, near the door or elevator, it will become difficult to concentrate on your work.
The best way to handle this is to send a formal complaint asking to be relocated or asking for the photocopier to be relocated where there is ample space.
But if space is limited, you might want to consider the use of ear plugs to reduce noise distraction.
The temperature range for optimal productivity at work is between 69.8 degrees and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a 2006 study by the Helsinki University of Technology.
I’m sure you will agree with me that staying focused in a hot room is very difficult.
This form of distraction can be overcome with air conditioners for the hot weather and room heaters for the cold.
- Lunch/Tea Breaks
Taking a break at work is fine.
But when workers go for a break there is the urge to relax and refuel, start a chat, or even run a quick personal errand.
Getting back to work after these set of activities can hinder productivity.
The key to dealing with this form of distraction is self discipline. Set a timer or alarm if you have to. This will help you get back to work on tome and regain focus easily.
- Office Chit Chat
Once in a while, a co-worker might pop into your office for a quick chat. This could be a friendly chat or even work related chat.
This is the most common form of distraction, especially in an open office setting.
The best way to deal with this is to politely ask the co-worker to give you some time or to come back later say, “during lunch”. That way you do not sound rude and they will understand that you are busy at the moment.
- E-mail Alerts
This is yet another common culprit.
For example, when you have audible e-mail alerts, you get this tingly feeling at your finger tips to open it. Technology has made it so easy that you can receive alerts directly on your mobile phone.
This can be tackled by keeping your audible alerts off during work hours. That way you remain focused and can check your e-mails later.
- Phone Calls
This is a very tricky distraction like a two sided coin.
When your phone rings, the first intuition is to pick it up. If the phone call is work related, this can be considered as part of working though a distraction none the less. On the flip side, if the phone is not work related, it would have distracted you.
You can deal with this form of distraction by letting family and friends know that you do not want to be disturbed during work hours, or you can mute the ring tone of your phone and a more drastic step would be to switch off your phone while at work.
But if the call is work related, for example a call from a customer or client, then you would be obliged to answer at the expense of being distracted.
- Social Media
This wonderful interaction and communication platform is sometimes abused especially in the work place.
As long as you have your mobile phone with you, the rate of distraction increases. You want to quickly check the link on your Facebook page, reply to that tweet about the match by your favorite team or pin the picture of the lovely outfits you saw the day before.
The list is endless.
Dealing with this form of distraction requires self discipline. You can also turn off your internet data so that you do not receive social media messages until you are on break or at home.
- Surfing the Net
Perhaps your job affords you a computer with internet connection as part of your job. However, you often get distracted by surfing the web and wasting time online instead of focusing on your work.
This form of distraction can be curbed by installing applications that will limit access to certain websites and also by self discipline.
Workplace distractions come in different forms but you have the power to control them and regain your productive mindset.
What knocks you out of a productive mindset? How do you deal with it and get back to work? Share it with us in the comment section.
Alta Chatterjee is a career coach, consultant and a published author, with over 25 years of coaching experience. You can grab a copy of her Free Case Study on “How To Get Promoted” Here.