Dealing with Distractions
In a perfect world you would be so focused on your work that nothing could distract you. But in the real world where we live it doesn’t always work that way. In fact it rarely works that way. So how do you deal with inevitable distractions and keep your productivity levels high?
There are many different things that can cause you to feel distracted. Constant phone calls and emails that seem to need urgent replies can often be a source of distraction. You may also have distractions such as coworkers who want to have conversations either work-related or social.
There’s also an entire online world of information including social media that you can turn to. Even if you only plan to check a source for a moment, you can waste hours without even realizing it.
And if you work from home, you may feel the pull of household duties and chores pulling you away from work. Often when people work from home, relatives and friends imagine that they’re not busy and find ways to interrupt work time.
Even if you’re surrounded with distractions, you can set up a work environment to combat them and be productive. First, it’s important to establish priorities for your day. With most business it’s impossible to avoid phone calls and emails that need to be returned.
But what you can do is set aside a specific time of day that you’ll handle those replies. For example, you may decide that the first thing you’ll do each morning is respond to any new emails or phone calls and that you’ll do so twice more at different times throughout the day.
In the meantime, you’ll keep distractions down by sending calls to voicemail and shutting down your email window. While this doesn’t work for every office environment, it can work for many.
If you really enjoy social media or social time with coworkers, you can schedule it instead of letting it become a distraction. For example, you can plan your lunch break to be a time to relax and do things that take your mind off of work.
You can even schedule two or three 10 minute breaks throughout the day for social time. Knowing that time is coming can help you stay motivated to be on task the rest of the time. If you work from home, it’s necessary to set boundaries with the people in your life so that your work takes priority.
You don’t have to answer every phone call. And if you feel household chores calling your name on a daily basis, schedule time to work on those so that you don’t have to spend time thinking about them.
Finally, if you’re distracted by ideas that hit you throughout the day it’s a good idea to write them down. Keep a notepad nearby so that you can write them down and give yourself permission to come back to them later.