Common Workplace Distractions and How to Stay Focused Despite Them

Posted on April 07, 2020

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Studies indicate that on an average, working people are interrupted every eleven minutes. The real catch, however, is that it takes twenty-five minutes to return to the task at hand. For obvious reasons, these distractions can put a damper on the performance and efficiency of any individual. The question then remains, what are these distractions, and how do we overcome them? Some of these distractions are self-evident and may be of our own making, while others are influenced by forces out of our control. Let’s take a look at some of these distractions, and how to combat them, by dividing them into two sections: Self-made distractions and outside influences.

Self-made distractions

When trying to stay focused at work, your worst enemy is often yourself. While tackling a particularly difficult challenge, the temptation to pre-emptively reward yourself for the hours of planning and execution that lies ahead is a far more alluring prospect than actually putting in the work. For most, this reward materialises as a few stolen minutes scrolling through social media feeds, or texting friends to let them know what kind of day you’re having. Numerous studies have suggested that the average person checks their phone anywhere from forty to fifty-seven times a day, and why shouldn’t they? There are always calls, emails, texts, and updates that demand your attention. However, this dividing of attention and focus disrupts your natural workflow, resulting in reduced productivity. To maximise focus, move your smartphone somewhere out of reach, and turn off social media notifications on all of your devices. Cutting out the constant inflow of irrelevant information allows your mind to focus on the task at hand, and those texts and notifications will be waiting for you when you clock out for the day.

Outside influences

Ever find yourself engrossed in a task, only to be interrupted by a particularly chatty colleague? Or maybe it’s the constant racket of the air-conditioning system or the coffee machine, the buzzing and ringing of phones and the slamming of doors that are getting on your nerves. These common features of a lively workplace present themselves as unavoidable hurdles, ones that cannot be surpassed without coming off as rude, or unreasonable to your co-workers. While friendly conversation and background noise seem like inevitable productivity-assassins, there are a few relatively straightforward methods to tackle them. Noise-cancelling headphones are great at cutting out the excess, and effectively nullify interruptions at the workplace. If you happen to be working on a project that demands silence, try and relocate to a quieter section of your office space. Alternatively, coworking office spaces offer an elegant solution to striking a balance between human interaction and personal space. Coworking officescan be a great way to meet new people while maintaining an aura of respectful distance and workplace camaraderie.

While workplace distractions may never leave you truly alone, it is essential to find means through which to identify and combat them to increase productivity and creative potential. Office space providers such as AccessWork help you find the right environment and maximise your focus and productivity by giving you a fully furnished office space or a virtual office space, based entirely on your requirements.

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