Many people claim that they work a 40-hour week, though not all that time is actually spent working. It can be hard to stay focused when there are so many interesting things going on around us. Facebook, colleagues, text messaging, trying to figure out why that squirrel outside is just running in circles. The truth is everyone struggles with distractions to some degree while at work. Here are some ways you can limit those distractions as much as possible.
Silence your email alerts
As soon as you hear a message alert you are no longer focused on what you were doing. Most of us feel compelled to check on it right away even if we are still doing something else. Turn off the alert and give yourself the ability to check on your email when you are available.
Keep your space clean
Make sure that your office or desk is organized, comfortable and well-lit so that you have the optimal space to be productive. Constantly having to clean up a messy workspace is itself a huge distraction, so make an effort to keep it tidy.
Switch off your phone
Much like email notifications our personal phones have a way of drawing our attention with every beep or buzz. If silencing your phone isn’t enough to keep you from instinctively replying to every message, try powering it down.
Budget your time
If you have a detailed plan for what time you need to get each specific task done by, distractions will be less effective. The best part is you can even plan for a time of day where distractions are welcome to you.
Change your scenery
Working from somewhere new can increase your productivity by limiting the possibility of interruption. If you can, try working from home when you have a big deadline due, or find a conference room or a vacant office to work in.
Be wary of social media
Avoiding social media at work has become more difficult over the years, as most jobs require some level of social media use. As I am writing this I have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even a YouTube tab open. When self-control fails you, consider either blocking the sites through your browser or installing one of the many browser extensions that can time specific webpages out to remind you to move on to a new task.
Distractions aren’t always a bad thing. When we are being faced with a difficult problem or facing burnout, a distraction is a welcome break. The problem is when you let those distractions take up too much of your time and prevent work from getting done.