Minimize Distractions at Work

Have you ever wondered why couldn’t you give your best output for some given task at work? Or you could complete the task in more efficient way then you did? Well, all of us at some point must have given it a thought as to why this happens. Besides a few other things, I think that one of the major reasons is ‘workplace dis-tractors’. We get so much distracted at work, whether we realize it or not. Once you are distracted, it takes much time to get back and focus on what you were doing. So basically, if you get distracted for ten minutes, it means you are wasting 15-20 minutes of your time and if you sum up all the time that you wasted being distracted and getting back, it turns into hours.

According to, “distractions are costly: a 2007 study by Basex, estimated that distractions cost U.S. businesses $588 billion per year, and this high cost is likely repeated in organizations around the world”.

Distraction is the biggest stumble block to our success. We become unable to produce quality outputs and waste our time. Moreover, it can also become a source of mental stress. If we learn to control our responses towards dis-tractors, we can increase our productivity by, at least, five times.

Here are some major distractions at work:

Handheld Devices: Our biggest weakness is addiction to instant messages and WhatsApp – we tend to become happy that someone finally sent a text to us and replying to it is almost mandatory. Not only this, unofficial phone calls from friends and family, are the greatest source of distraction at work. I know staying in touch with them is important too, but you can set time to reply. Lunch breaks are there to deal with unofficial stuff.

Email Check: While I discussed the importance of checking emails in my previous blog, but getting obsessed with checking emails is a disorder. You need to set a schedule, if checking emails every now and then is your habit. Nothing is that important which requires a reply right that very minute, everyone can wait a little. So, take your time and complete your task first.

Turn off audible alerts: Whether it’s Skype, viber, Facebook or emails, audible notification alerts get you distracted right away. So, don’t forget to turn them off or silent – even vibration buzz can be very annoying for your colleagues too.

Social media sites: Can you spend a day without login in to Facebook or twitter? Our another weakness is the addiction to Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. and trust me, they are the most time wastage links, we don’t get much out of them. We should make a habit of using them in our spare time only.

No priority: Every person has their own peak-hours, when their productivity and efficiency level is at the best. Some are morning people and some are best at evening hours. So, figure out your best time and prioritize your day tasks according to it. This will help you in giving your best productive output.

Messy desk: As I discussed earlier in my blog about effects of physical environment on employees productivity, it’s very important to remind you all that physical material on your desk can be very distracting. So, organize your stuff before you start the day.

Lack of Focus: Most of the people can’t help themselves from thinking about another task while working on other. If you organize your daily tasks according to their priorities, you will become less distracted thinking about other projects that are lined-up. Try to keep the focus on what you are currently doing, because thinking about other tasks will slow you down and will affect your productivity.

Chatty colleagues: As I was writing this blog, two of my colleagues started to discuss some work project and I was unable to save my mind from getting involved in what they were discussing. Such situations are faced by all of us on daily basis, we can’t control others but we can figure out other ways to avoid, such as wearing headphones. Simple noise blocking headphones are suggested but you can put the music on if you have good practice of working with music.

Uncomfortable dresses: For example, production manager cannot wear fitted suits if he is working on a unit site. Same goes for females, they cannot carry long pencil heels if their job is to run here and there in the office. So, wear something that looks decent, professional and yet comfortable according to your job.

Diet Consciousness: Empty stomach will not let you focus on work. It’s always better to take breakfast and lunch, it will also help you in getting energized to perform task in more efficient manner. Weight loss dieting is highly discouraged in females.

Workaholic Attitude: Avoid long sessions of working. Resting your mind for 5 minutes after completing a task will help you produce better output.

Did I miss something? What would you add?
Your critique, suggestions and views are always encouraged.