How to Limit Distractions While Working
Do you ever get distracted while you’re working? According to a recent study from Mopria Alliance, “today’s employees experience 77 distractions a week on average, or one distraction every 31 minutes,” leading to lower productivity levels and negative impacts on mental health.
When we are engaged in something, we tend to ignore other things around us — because our brains are hardwired to focus on the present moment. When that focus is broken, a distraction occurs. It’s important to be aware of these distractions and deal with them immediately. If you don’t limit distractions, they’ll eventually take over your entire day.
Here are some tips to help you stay focused and productive while on the clock:
1. Identify your triggers.
Distractions can come from many different sources: incoming phone calls/texts, emails, meeting notifications, coworkers, family members, social media, and even pets. It’s important to know what kinds of situations are most likely to divert your attention. Once you are able to identify those situations, it will be easier to either troubleshoot their impact or avoid them altogether.
2. Turn off your notifications.
Constant pop-ups and audio notifications can pull your attention away from what you’re working on, thus making it difficult to focus. Notifications from personal devices and accounts should be turned off when working — you can always turn them back on later.
3. Create a workspace that works for you.
It’s important to set clear boundaries between your working and personal spaces. You may not be able to completely eliminate workplace distractions, but you can certainly minimize their impact. When working in a noisy environment, try to close your door (if you have one) or use noise-canceling headphones.
4. Make a list of priorities.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done. To help manage your workload, create a list of priorities based on the most important projects first. Then, prioritize your remaining tasks using the same method.
5. Break bigger projects into manageable tasks.
When you have too much to do, it’s tempting to just start doing everything. But that approach won’t lead to success. Instead, try breaking big projects into smaller pieces which will help you stay focused and make your workload more manageable.
6. Avoid multitasking.
Multitasking doesn’t work well in today’s world. In fact, research shows that people who frequently switch between activities perform worse than those who stick to one task at a time. So if you want to maximize your efficiency, don’t multitask. Focus on one thing at a time.
7. Take breaks.
If you find yourself getting distracted throughout the day, take a break. Go outside, stretch, walk around the office, or grab a cup of coffee. Taking regular breaks helps you refocus and recharge so you can continue working effectively.
You might not be able to ignore every distraction that comes along, but with practice and a little trial-and-error you’ll be able to focus on the tasks that matter most to you.