Workplace distractions are the arch-enemies of productivity. They sneak up on productivity and waste precious time. So, read on to discover the top seven distractions at the workplace and how to avoid distractions at work.
The advancements in technology have provided us with faster means of doing work. But, these have also led to new types of distractions. The majority of the distractions these days are technology-related.
It is essential to understand distractions first to be able to combat them. Understanding them will empower you.
Listed below are the top 10 workplace distractions. Alongside this, we also inform you how to avoid distractions at work and boost productivity.
Hunger and thirst
Think of all the canteen time, tea/coffee breaks and water cooler breaks. A lot of precious time gets wasted intentionally or unintentionally. Even after you return to your desk, it takes a while to get your concentration back.
But there is good news. It is very simple to combat this type of distraction. Keep some healthy snacks like nuts or granola bars at hand. Always sit down with a filled water bottle. Have someone deliver the coffee/tea to you. Have sufficient, healthy breakfast (if you work the morning shift). Take all the necessary steps to last until lunchtime.
With the advent of smartphones, conducting business became easier. Trading activities got a huge boost. But, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The features that smartphones offer work for and against productivity.
It isn’t practical to keep it off or in flight mode always. But, what we can do is place it a little farther away in a bag or on a shelf. This way we can hear it ring in emergency cases. This also helps to avoid the temptation of mindless scrolling through social media or the gallery. Keep the unimportant notifications off. There are apps to help you keep a check on your smartphone usage. You might want to check apps like Space and Offtime.
Colleagues/ Other people
Although working with colleagues is a huge plus-point in an office setting as compared to work-at-home, there are times when you could do better without it. If colleagues or people around are taking away from your productivity rather than adding to it, it’s time to take conscious steps to avoid the distraction.
You might face annoying ‘shoulder tapping’ or you might be drawn to conversations you overhear. There are other non-verbal distractions that colleagues may involuntarily cause.
How do you deal with it all? Work with focused people as productivity is contagious, set some boundaries with distracting colleagues and allow short breaks where you can have meaningful interactions with colleagues. A non-verbal cue that you don’t want to be disturbed can be headphones (whether you have anything playing or not).
Clutter hampers productivity because it drains your mental energy. It calls your attention to other tasks and takes away from the focus on the present task. It can make you feel burnt out. Spend 5-10 minutes at the start and end of each day decluttering and organizing your desk and doing a quick clean-up. This will give you a feeling of being more in control. Follow minimalism when it comes to your work desk. A neat, organized environment will boost your productivity. Reduce clutter and boost productivity.
Anxiety hampers productivity. It could be work-related or home-related. The irony about anxiety is that it causes distraction, but distraction is also an effective way of treating anxiety.
To deal with anxiety, develop a personal wellness plan. Have a balanced diet, sleep well and get sufficient exercise. When you enter the work environment, imagine yourself stepping into another world. Don’t carry the worries of home to work with you. Similarly, don’t take work worries back to your house. Set realistic goals and agree to achievable deadlines. If you are facing too much pressure at work, you might want to take a look at this article.
Here we are talking about noise other than that of loud verbal communication. The sound of someone typing too hard, the tapping of shoes/heels, opening and closing of doors, the sound of photocopy machines and the likes can be very distracting when the work requires high concentration.
Invest in some noise-canceling headphones. Consider getting apps like Noisli that provide high-quality sounds that help you focus. Check to see if you can work in a quieter place for more complicated tasks. Set signals with colleagues to ensure their cooperation.
While we cannot eliminate the usage of the internet (we need to research stuff every now and then), we can cut down on the time we waste on it. There are apps that can help you in this regard. Apps like ColdTurkey help you block the most distracting sites through customized lists.
“Always remember, your focus defines your reality”George Lucas
Workplace distractions will always be present. But when you learn how to avoid distractions at work, you set yourself up for higher productivity and success. We have shown you how with a few examples. You need to discover what distracts you most and then tackle the distraction with conscious efforts. It’s possible! You can do it. We believe in you!