Let’s just face it! It is very easy to be distracted in the workplace. Almost effortless! Among all those monotonous spreadsheets, long assignments, and conference calls, the temptation to scroll through social media and chuckle at memes can easily overtake. Procrastination doesn’t seem to be a regretful idea when you want to skim through the latest celebrity gossip!
When you first joined your office, you were so, but now you regret that too because sometimes you waste good 20 minutes watching baseball on the TV mounted in the restroom. So many distractions to deal with!
We have compiled a list of nice and easy tips to help you be more productive and avoid these distractions as much as you can.
Top 8 Distractions at the Workplace and How to Deal With Them
- Social Media.
- Your Phone.
- Endless Meetings.
- Coffee and Smoke Breaks.
- The Environment.
Let’s talk about them!
Social media provides us our regular dose of memes and allows us to connect with people. But if you are using it a lot at work, know that it’s the biggest productivity killer. According to several surveys, Facebook is the most visited site in the workplaces amongst all other non-work related ones. Perhaps it’s our info seeking cravings which are readily gratified when we use social media.
The only solution to avoid this major distraction is to simply disable all the social media sites on the system that you work on. In case your company has already blocked them and you are using them on your Smartphone, you need to fix some time to use them and then stick to it.
Are you worried about being appearing anti-social at your workplace? and that’s why you end up wasting hours in having those useless conversations with your co-workers about how Game of Thrones should have ended!
Well, if you are able to complete your tasks in time along with these conversations, fair enough! But if you have lots of looming deadlines and you don’t want to procrastinate, the last thing you will want is Jason from HR stopping by to ask if you watched America’s Got Talent last night.
You need to reconsider your priorities and at work the biggest priority is work! The easiest hack to avoid this unwanted attention is to simply give the impression that you are overwhelmed with work and too busy to get into a conversation. If allowed, wear headphones. Avoid unnecessary eye contacts with people who are passing by. Not so difficult!
Our phones have become inseparable from us. Yes, you need to stay updated about your family members and have to answer certain important calls from friends and family. That’s alright!
But if you are checking WhatsApp group chats every 5 minutes or constantly checking different menus to order for lunch, it can become a real distraction.
It would save you a lot of productive time if you simply keep it in your drawer. Turn off notifications and turn on silent mode. Don’t you hate those colleagues whose cellphones keep pinging all day? Don’t be one!
Pinging cellphones brings our next distraction on the list. Noise is one of those distractions about which you can’t be blamed!
Noises like recurrent furious typing on a neighboring cubicle’s keyboard, unnecessary long discussions, two colleagues constantly giggling and joking, colleagues taking personal calls without bothering to get up from their desks, construction and hammering on the top floor are not just distraction. They can be truly frustrating!
Headphones are the life-savers here! Go for the noise-cancellation ones. You wouldn’t regret investing in them. If you are not allowed to wear them, explain this situation to the manager.
You may think that it’s not a huge distractor, but it actually is! It has a great impact on your productivity levels. More than you actually realize. It is impossible to concentrate when you are sitting in your workstation doing a steady countdown to lunchtime while your stomach is growling.
Managing your snacks and food intake is something you should plan for improved concentration and workflow. You can’t go for constant snacking. That’s unhealthy. But to keep hunger pangs at bay, snacking between your breakfast and lunch should be okay.
Do you also feel that meetings are the most annoying thing in an office environment? Especially when they happen twice a day every day or more! Nothing eats up time like boring, monotonous meetings with same agendas. For instance, “where the team is heading” and “sharing ideas and suggestions” (and never implementing them). And you sit through them thinking about the work that could have been done in this time.
Considering your position in the company, you can “share the idea” of keeping meetings brief, crisp, to-the-point, and adhering to a time limit.
Coffee and Smoke Breaks
Going away for a smoke or to grab a coffee isn’t a bad thing. You need those mini-breaks from staring at your screen. And to get some fresh air. And yes, caffeine is office boost alertness and productivity.
But if you are spending 20 minutes per smoke break (let’s say 5 times a day), cracking jokes with your smoke buddies, then it can be major trouble with your company’s lost hours and your productivity. You will come back to your desk and spend another few minutes trying to refocus. Plus, you cannot deny the fact that in the long run, it is going to prove to be an unhealthy habit.
If you crave for coffee too much, bring in a coffee flask. And limit both, your smoke breaks and their duration.
Another less explicit distraction, yet important! The lighting, temperature, and other such factors can mess with your concentration levels. If sunlight is creating a glare in your screen, or the temperature is too hot or too cold, you will be unable to focus.
It is common sense but still, you need to ensure that the temperature of the office should be acceptable for everyone. And make sure you can view your screen effortlessly.
I recently visited top tourist destinations in USA and I couldn’t help being impressed by how well-lit it was. Since I went in the daytime, I noticed they had a small hall with glass windows and natural light cascading in that served as a rest area. It was a wonderful mix of natural and artificial lighting!