How To Deal With Workplace Distractions

Distractions are a familiar fixture of an everyday workplace weather you work at home or in a busy office. Sometimes distractions can be a good thing when working on creative tasks. Some distractions help us get out of a rut by cognitive shifting is the mental process of consciously redirecting your attention from one fixation to another.

In contrast, there is also the internal urge we all have to be distracted. Considering that on average distractions happen every 11 minutes but then it takes 25 minutes for our brains to refocus back onto the original task so work distractions need to be avoided as much as possible.

Distractions at work can have a negative impact on our performance, productivity, and potential and to compensate for these interruptions people work faster, this increases stress and frustration, which then doubles the amount of errors made.

Addressing Work Distractions

Start to identify what your distraction is and how the distraction is happening then make a plan to stop the interruptions the 12 common distractions that should be addressed while working are:

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are very addictive on average people view their phones 52 times a day with social media notifications, texts, emails and phone calls. We also use our phones to set reminders, view calendars, and listen to music or even do online shopping.

The best method for resisting use of mobile phones is to put them on airplane mode, use the phones do not disturb function or leave it in your bag or in the drawer of your desk.

Scheduling times for mobile phone usage during working hour will also help for example do what you need to on your breaks.

Emails

In 2017 269 billion emails were sent daily worldwide. The email figure is expected to jump to 333 billion in 2019. Emails are a big way of communicating and there always temptation to check your inbox and stop working.

Use the app sane box to manage you email inbox as it filters out the unimportant messages.

The important thing to remember is if there’s ever an emergency, People will ring you or knock on your door. So emails can be checked at a scheduled time.

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Background Noise

Background noise can be a big distraction in a busy office, with people talking, machine running, phones ringing and doors opening and closing all the time then there’s the more annoying distractions like coughing loud snacking and music playing.

Background noise becomes too distracting; relocate to a quieter area when you need to give a task your full attention. Also apps can drown-out background noise, while also improving focus.

People

Interruptions from employees, customers, suppliers, and family are unavoidable. “Shoulder tapping,” is also a common distraction.

To avoid these distractions close your office door and place a do not disturb sign on it. However if you have an open office space wearing headphones may help.

Planning for these interpretations can make them less of a distraction by blocking out in your calendar a period where you’re available for pop-ins or some buffer time between tasks and meetings.

Clutter

Messy work environments affect ability to focus and to process information. Keep work place clean and organized throw away what’s not needed, file paperwork accordingly and put as many files on the cloud as you can to reduce the amount of filing cabinets in the office and make sure all office supplies have a home and are put back at the end of each day.

Your workspace should be cleaned at least once every week if not daily. Friday afternoons before clocking off would be perfect ready for a fresh start on Monday morning.

Take a look at our range of desk accessories and filing solutions to help cleanse your desk.

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Multi-tasking

At some point or another everyone has been guilty of juggling too many tasks at once, however the fact is our brains are not capable of focusing on more than one task at a time. Multitasking slows you down rather than making you more productive. Switching from task to task rapidly rather than concentrating on one or two things at the same time.

Multitasking can make you create more mistakes, reduce creative thinking, and is potentially damaging your brain.

Co-workers

Engaging in conversation with your employees, colleagues, and business partners are all essential for been involved and building a friendly company culture. However, wasting time talking about what’s on TV or just generally having a good chin wag isn’t just a distraction, it can also create a toxic workplace.

Boundaries need to be in place for general small talk however full blown gossiping in the work place cannot be allowed it needs to be address straight away, even if it’s as drastic as an employee been sacked.

If your busy working and someone comes up to you wanting a conversation, simply explain that you don’t have time to talk right now but you will catch up with them later at a more appropriate time such as on your lunch break.

Micro-management

Although you should know what’s happing with your business, its isn’t just a distraction for your workers it can be more stressful, frustrating and could potentially have an anxiety effect on them always been closely observed which also sends out negative vibes due to the fact it also shows lack of freedom in the workplace.

Encourage ownership and let your team do what you employed them to do, how productive would you be if you’re in the middle of working on a project and you boss comes steaming in and starts to point out every little thing that you’d done wrong? Disruptions stop creativity and have effects on self-development which then enhances the way people feel about themselves.

It’s difficult giving up some control but you need to let your workers do their thing be there to guide them but do it without interfering with their work. Been a micro-manager doesn’t mean you have to thoroughly check your staff out it just means be vigilant and be aware of everything that’s going on in and around the workplace.

Snacking

It’s almost impossible to focus when you’re feeling hungry and your stomach starts growling. Unfortunately, we turn to junk food because it’s quick and always available.

It takes a lot of willpower to avoid the vending machine or fast foods. But, by been prepared and bringing your own healthier option snacks with you should eliminate your hunger while you keep focused and energized.

Strict Policies.

Lot of employers like to have policies in place to encourage employees to be punctual this is an important factor to consider in order to run a successful business.

Although being overly strict with policies can all so cause more stress. If your employees are worrying about not been able to get to work on time and are having to rush do to various delays, they’re starting off the day on a bad foot, This can effect their enthusiasm and confidence, especially for those who travel long distances five days a week because by the time they arrive at work they will be stressed and drained.

If you’re in a management position, try to focus more on building a work place that awards employees who are productive. This will send a strong message to the other employee’s send that punctuality is important, but more importantly is your performance.

Some employers offer their employees a flex schedule where they can arrive at work later in the morning to avoid the hectic commute. Another option would be allowing them to work from home sometimes if possible.

Meetings

Meetings are typically known for been pointless and distracting time wasters. When people are pulled away from work and are forced to sit in a meeting for an at least an hour even though they probably don’t really need to be there just wastes precious working time.

Before arranging a meeting take time to see if it is really necessary. Sometimes communicating to relevant staff via email or using a project management tool can be more effective than holding a meeting.

Another choice would be to have a set day every week where no meeting will be scheduled you even call it the NO MEETING MONDAY but which every day you choose to have your no meeting day this will then allow employees to work on their most important tasks without any interruptions.

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Decision Weakness

When your mentally exhausted your unable to focus and concentrate on the task in hand let alone make any decisions.

One option is to reduce the number of decisions that you make on a daily basis. Some have found success by prepping their meals for the week, delegating boring responsibilities, and scheduling appointments.