We all know how easy it can be to fall in to the grasps of distractions at work. There’s Facebook, Instagram, the latest cat video on YouTube, chatting with Carol in the break room, the distractions are endless. No matter how good you are at tuning them out, it is not possible to remain focused every second of every day at work. Can you blame us? We are only human at the end of the day. In fact, some distraction helps relieve stress and increase work performance. It is when the distractions start to affect your work negatively that steps must be taken to eliminate distractions. Here are some helpful tips to ensure workplace distractions do not get in the way of your job performance.
A To-Do List
The best way to ensure that you finish all of your work in time is to create a check-list of what is required of you on a day to day basis. Having a physical list of what you need to accomplish in a day allows you to stay on track. If you see that it is two o’clock and you still have four hours’ worth of work, you will be far less likely to allow yourself to be distracted.
Shut Your Door
If you are lucky enough to have an office with a door; use it. This does not mean you have to constantly isolate yourself from the office, it just means you need to learn when to use it. An open door signifies to coworkers that they can drop in and chat or ask you questions. If you are working on an important project or assignment that requires you to minimize distractions, close the door and only open it when you are finished and able to handle the distractions that come with an open door. If you are in a cubicle, you can enjoy the same benefit of shutting your door by putting in headphones. This signals to coworkers that you are focused and do not have time for conversation at the moment.
Turn it All Off
Log out of Facebook, set your ringer on silent, mute your texts, and close all tabs on your computer that are not relevant to your work. If you are able to complete your work without the use of a computer, that is even better. However, in today’s technology fueled world, it is highly unlikely that you can avoid technology, so you have to learn how to use it without getting distracted by its many uses. By silencing and closing all distractions, you have a better chance of staying focused. If you cannot see a text pop up from a friend or family member, you are less likely to check your phone frequently.
Like I mentioned earlier, little distractions are okay, so take them in the form of breaks. Give yourself a break to check up social media, answer your texts, or chat with coworkers at designated times. Perhaps you tell yourself you will work with no distractions for an hour, or you will finish a small project before allowing yourself to check up on social media or news. Your lunch break is also a great opportunity to check up on social media, texts, and catch up with coworkers. By turning distractions into incentive to perform your work first, your work performance and productivity will increase; it’s a win-win.
You and only you know exactly what distracts you the most and where that distraction comes from. By recognizing your weaknesses and guilty pleasures, you can better figure out how to eliminate them. If you’re most distracted by chatting with coworkers, remind yourself to close your door or use headphones. If you’re most distracted by social media, assign yourself times that you are allowed to check it and stick to that strict schedule. If you’re not sure what your worst distraction is, you can utilize a time tracker that will tell you how much time you spend on each app or website. The key to combatting detrimental distractions is to recognize, asses, and change the behavior that is causing them.
Written By: O. Greendyk