10 Workplace Distractions And How to Manage
As we slowly transition back to our offices and “new normal”, we’ll need to once again get used to working around and with other people. We were finally getting into the groove of working from home and managing our pet, kids, and spouse distractions, and now we are heading back to the workplace!
Below are some tips on how to better manage workplace distractions in a bustling environment, and it always comes back to productivity! Here are 10 workplace distractions:
- Office Phones
- Smart Phones
- People Stopping By Office or Cubicle (complainers, gossipers, chatty)
- “Watercooler Chat”
- Social Media
- Too Many Bosses
- Report Redundancy
- The “Too Many Question” Guy
Not every suggestion below applies to every workplace environment, nor will it apply to every situation. Some may be required to constantly monitor email, answer phone calls, or speak with guests and customers. But, by doing just a few of these tips below will help everyone be more productive and successful in completing their work. The number suggestion I actively take part in is The Pomodoro method.
Work in 25-minute increments on only one task. Set a timer. When the timer goes off, take a short break and resume again with another 25-minute increment. Do not multi-task, one task only. This has worked wonderfully for many people by helping them stay focused, and producing more quality work. If you chose to do any of these ideas on reducing workplace distraction, I like the Pomodoro Method.
- Close down your email and check only once per hour, not every time a notification dings on your computer or smartphone.
- The same goes with social media. Only check at designated times, don’t have social media tabs open on your desktop or smartphone for easy access. It’s too tempting and is distracting to have social media tabs open all day.
- If you are not required to answer the phone as a core function of your job, i.e. you aren’t the info desk, put your phone on Do Not Disturb (DND) while working on one focused task.
- Close your office door for a few hours each day, close the blinds, and state “out of office” or “do not disturb”. Sometimes folks don’t pay attention to the door sign so I opt for the “I’m not in the office” option.
Don’t engage in gossip and meaningless chit-chat. This is doesn’t say “don’t be social”. Simply stop engaging with this type of conversation, and people will stop approaching you with trivial information. Again, socializing is a good thing at work. But how you socialize matters.
Block out chunks of time on your shared Outlook calendar. This will motivate you 1) work on these tasks during these designated times and 2) lets others know you wish not to be disturbed during these timeframes.
- Take a short walk one time per hour. This means, get away from your desk! At a minimum, stand up at taking some deep breaths. Getting some fresh air, I promise, will help you to think more clearly.
- Don’t take work home with you at night. Sometimes, this is unavoidable. But it is my experience if I don’t take a break from thinking about work-related projects and tasks, I do not perform optimally. Sometimes the best ideas come up when you aren’t thinking of those 101 things you have to do!
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of an administrative assistant who can screen our calls, answer our emails, and intercept the “stop by”. By being proactive and setting some boundaries with the tips above you’re sure to see an uptick in your productivity and overall job satisfaction, and less distraction in your daily work life!