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Employee Productivity and How to Reduce Distractions at Work

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Who among you here can work without being tempted to take a glimpse of your inbox (yes, phone and email)? Or, perhaps, your Facebook wall? Surely, not all of us here can resist the urge of being distracted. For some reasons, distractions make us feel good if it means knowing what your Facebook friends are up to. Distractions are everywhere; it strikes you any time of the day especially when you are trying too hard to concentrate on your work. Well, it’ll always be up to you if you are going to entertain it or not.

Unless you are working in a social media marketing company where you’d definitely need to open and use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., then peeking at any of these is an ultimate distraction. Sad to say, some of us don’t care about being distracted for as long as we are doing our job. But the real question is how sure are you that you’re doing high-quality work? If you want to make your productivity scales up to expectation, fighting back the distraction is a must.

Thinking about it thoroughly, fighting back the urge not to be distracted is not as hard as you think it is. There are a lot of people who have learned strategies on how to minimize such distractions and maximize their performance and productivity. Well, if you are one of those who are still struggling to avoid such, you might want to know what keeps you distracted and how you can avoid such.

Environmental distractions

From the word itself, these distractions came from your surroundings. It may be the people outside who are passing by through your office, people who go in and out of the office’s front door, co-workers going to and fro in front of you or even the noise your co-workers make. These situations don’t just distract us from focusing our work, but it also irritates us because we can’t give our full attention to the tasks we are doing. Sometimes, we also feel frustrated knowing that we can’t just barge into their desks and reprimand them one by one.

For you to be motivated to do your task productively, changing the ambiance of your workplace a little bit might do the trick. In fact, it helps you avoid the distractions around you. If you think that your desk is wide open for the others to see what you are doing, you might try stacking some books on the corner. Or, try placing some indoor plants or a lamp. With that, you are creating a wall that allows you to focus solely on the tasks that need to be accomplished.

Technological distractions

Admittedly, this distraction has already penetrated our system. We automatically pick up our phone whenever we heard a notification sound, thinking that that message is important. We regard all the messages we received as important the way these should be treated, right? Not just the messages, but all the notifications and updates that we receive. We think of them as important, and they need our immediate attention. Of course, who wouldn’t be curious what the message is all about? It’s interesting and intriguing at the same time, so we want to know. What if it’s an emergency, right?

A time management coach and author of Time Management from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern suggests that if you want to make things done faster without compromising the quality of your work, you need to be time conscious. You need to know how much time you need to have that is intended for a particular task. Moreover, if you have the urge to use your phone, then you can use it as your timer. Indeed, it can help you manage your time. When your phone vibrates or rings, that would mean your time is up.

Most of the times, we are bombarded with lots information that we need to know. We just want to take a quick break to let it all sink in. For some people, browsing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, for instance, is their kind of break. However, according to Morgenstern, browsing the Internet steals our breaks rather than exhaust them. Why? Because you’re still staring at your screen, and your mind is still working. If you want to have a healthy break, you can have a quick walk around your office space, grab a cup of coffee or take a bit of rest. With that, you’re resting and preparing your mind to work again after the break.

Social distractions

Just like ‘environmental distractions’, these distractions can happen in your office. Distractions may occur when you’re going to the bathroom or grabbing some snack at the pantry. For some people, talking with co-workers is their idea of ‘release’. They just love being chitty chatty. Well, perhaps, they just want to ease the pressure or some boredom. These co-workers are a form of distraction as well other than the need to get up and go to wherever you want to go during work hours, not just during break times. Going back to your workstation, it’d be hard to get your focus back.

Morgenstern suggests that putting a sign such as “On Deadline” or “In Focus Mode” where every or most of your co-workers can see can help you focus on your work. Ask them politely to communicate with you through email instead, especially when you are in a working mode. They are not going to send you an email if they don’t have any important thing to say. This might be rude for some but if you just let your co-workers know and let them understand, they might also adopt this approach when they need it. Moreover, it doesn’t just help you, but it also helps others so they can also focus on their respective tasks.

However, if this person isn’t getting your hint and continues to interrupt you, then you might want to invite him or her over for lunch or coffee. Ask him or her directly what he or she really wants to tell. It might work out this time. And, he or she might have something important to tell you; all he or she needs is the right venue to tell you about it.

Apparently, we are environmentally, technically and socially distracted at all times. Again, it’s up to us if we are going to entertain the distraction and ruin our focus and momentum or discard it for later.

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