Your phone buzzes. It’s your teenager wondering if he can go to the mall after school. Your coworker pops in your cubicle. They want to tell you about their date last night. Your computer dings. It’s an email from your boss asking if you can make it to her Christmas party.
These distractions, though seemingly tiny, can greatly detract from your productivity, especially if they’re happening all day long. Overcome the distraction hurdle with the following tips.
Often, when we face too many distractions, we never get anything done. Setting some intentions for the workday can help you push away the nonsense and get back on task.
These milestones don’t have to be major. They could be things like finishing a report, clearing out your unread emails, or finalizing a deck slide. All that matters is that you focus enough to get them done.
This one might sound counterproductive – after all, should you really be taking on harder work when you’re already so distracted? However, the reason you’re getting distracted may be because your existing workload doesn’t really demand that much of your attention.
For example, if all you have on your plate for the day is some light data entry, you’ll be more tempted to browse Facebook or chat up your coworker. However, if you’re working on an in-depth report, that should hold your focus more and keep you more on task.
Do as much as you can to remove potential distractions from your path. This might mean:
- Putting your phone on silent.
- Wearing noise-canceling headphones.
- If you have an office, close your door.
- Mute your emails for specific spans of time.
- Use a website blocker to prevent yourself from browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.
Of course, a day without downtime can be stressful and wearing. This is why you can allow yourself to be distracted, but only during appropriate times. Keep yourself in focus mode by setting a timer for set intervals. Give yourself 45 minutes of distraction-free work, and then take a 15-minute break when you’re done to let your mind wander.
Research shows that the average worker is distracted every 40 seconds when they’re on the computer, so you need to be vigilant about practicing these anti-distraction tips. Otherwise, it can take you up to 20 minutes to refocus on whatever you were previously doing – which seriously cuts into your workplace success.
Bailey, Chris. â€œ4 Strategies for Overcoming Distraction.â€ Harvard Business Review, 2018 Aug 30, https://hbr.org/2018/08/4-strategies-for-overcoming-distraction.
Patel, Deep. â€œ7 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Distractions.â€ Entrepreneur, 2018 Dec 12, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324560.