There is always something to distract you at work, be it social apps, computer games, or colleagues.
When your attention is lost, you lose your productivity with it.
This lack of productivity can have detrimental effects on your mental health, derail your career progress, and make it impossible for you to achieve the much-needed work-life balance. That is because you will constantly be chasing deadlines, so you won’t have enough time to recharge or be with family. That can be avoided.
Here are seven quick tips for avoiding distractions at work.
- Keep things simple
Complicating everything is the first step to procrastination which, by extension, translates to time-wasting and distraction. What does this mean? Well, when you create a scenario in your head that a task is too big to be done in your available time, you push it for a later date and spend the “insufficient” available time doing nothing. Before you know it, many “huge” tasks pile up, so you have to squeeze them all into one extremely huge task. You start feeling overwhelmed, making it even harder to avoid distractions. The solution here is to break down tasks into smaller chunks that can be done in less than an hour.
- Close the loop on unnecessary consultations
If you are the boss, ensure that you clarify all issues and give clear instructions during your morning briefs and staff meetings. That minimizes the need for employees to interrupt you with follow-up questions during the workday.
Another way of closing the loop of unnecessary consultations is avoiding the “Reply All” communication option. When you reply to all workers, you give them a reason to chatter amongst themselves, both online and offline. The office becomes noisy and chaotic, derailing everyone’s productivity. Don’t invite everyone to discuss your decisions when they don’t have to.
Lastly, minimize layers of approval especially for not-so-consequential decisions. Give line managers and supervisors the power to approve some inconsequential office decisions, e.g. whether or not an employee can leave for home earlier than usual. That means fewer knocks on your door.
- Take charge of your mind
Know what distracts your mind and cut it loose or block it out. This means being aware of what you are thinking at all times and taking quick action when your mind starts drifting. If you are addicted to social media, for example, redirect your thoughts to more useful things whenever you feel overwhelmed by the urge to check out your newsfeed. If you can’t avoid talking about politics in the office, don’t be friends with people who love office politics. In fact, deliberately hang out with people who hate politics.
- Invest in noise-canceling headphones
When working in a coworking space, for example, you can block out noise distractions using noise-canceling headphones or, if your budget is tight, a simple pair of earbuds will do the job. The headphones play white noise, nature sounds, movie soundtracks, or music of your choosing. These are sounds that allow you to focus.
If you are tired of carrying headphones around, your best bet is to choose an upscale working space, such as co-working spaces Dallas, that is filled with laser-focused professionals. The city of Dallas is defined by fast-growing entrepreneurial ventures, a growing tech industry, and youthful startup entrepreneurs. At the heart of this growth is the availability of industrious coworking spaces. Almost all coworking spaces in Dallas have free high-speed internet, free printing services, conference rooms, and power nap rooms where you can go to recharge after a long day of networking.
- Eat healthy
Drowning yourself in junk food will only make you sink into a stupor, consequently dipping your productivity. When you get hungry in the office, eat a fruit or any other low-calorie treat. Eat a well-balanced breakfast at home and pack a healthy lunch. Eating healthy will help you stay focused during the afternoon.
- Use tech to your advantage
Don’t allow technology and social media to lure you away from the work that really matters. Instead, use technology to stop tech distractions. For example, use a website blocking software to deny yourself access to social media or YouTube.
- Set short artificial deadlines
People tend to work harder and focus more when there is a fast-approaching deadline. It is unlikely that you will watch a YouTube video when you have registered in your mind that you need to finish a task within a shorter-than-normal duration. To hold yourself accountable, promise your boss or client that you will be done with a project within the timeframe you set for yourself.
Work is full of distractions, of course, but it is possible to prevent yourself from them. It will take you time to identify and eliminate distractions, but you will eventually do it if you are patient enough to stay in the course.