When you work in an office environment or around other team members, distraction is bound to happen. However, workplace distractions are a lot more common than you would think. In a study conducted by UC Irvine and as reported by The New York Times, distractions happen in the workplace as often as every 11 minutes. That’s just over five distractions an hour. Distractions in the workplace are not something we can avoid all the time. However, bringing awareness to the situation could have a large positive impact on productivity. Read further for a list of common distractions and and how to handle them.
  1. Noise Levels While open floor plans have been proven to strengthen work relationships and teamwork, sometimes this can have a negative impact impact on productivity. Some more than others need a quieter work space to be productive. One way to conquer the is to wear ear plugs to cancel out surrounding noise. Another option, if you can focus on work while doing so, would be to wear headphones and listen to music or digital books. Silence not your thing but music and books are distracting? Try white noise via headphones.
  2. Smartphones More so now than ever, smartphones account for a huge source of distraction in and out of the workplace. While the convenience can be a good thing, having the access to text, chat and check social media at our fingertips provides an easy out from being productive at work. The fix for this is more about self control than anything. Quiet your notifications. Turn your phone on do not disturb. Put your phone out of site or even out of reach if necessary. Setting aside specified times to check your phone/social media is also a good tactic to make it feel like less of a punishment or withdrawal.
  3. Co-Workers While you don’t want to isolate yourself or come off unfriendly, sometimes social time with co-workers has to be addressed. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you are swamped and are cramped for time at the moment. To avoid being the unsocial co-worker, set a time that works for both to catch up and socialize. Lunch breaks or a mid-afternoon break are great times to do so.
  4. Restlessness Some days more than others, we just feel restless. Restlessness can cause you to  be highly unproductive. A few approaches to solve this is to cut back on caffeine if you think that may be the cause or to take a few short breaks and get some fresh air and exercise throughout your day.
  5. Multi-Tasking Even though we would like to think we can do it all, sometimes this is just not reality. While it maybe feel productive to do multiple things, this can kill productivity and also decrease the value and overall quality of our work. Not to mention, multi-tasking can leave you unable to focus. One way to conquer this distraction is to learn to say no. If it’s voluntary or is not a requirement, it’s ok to say no. If your job requires you to multi-task, there are still things you can do to improve your focus and productivity. Using a project management tactic like a Kanban Board is a great way to do so. Read more on these here: Kanban Board
Are there distractions that you have come across that are not mentioned here? We would love to hear about them and how you handled them in the comments! https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/opinion/sunday/a-focus-on-distraction.htm