We’ve all had those days. You’ve got a laundry list of things to do, but for some reason, you just can’t buckle down and get them done.
While a simple case of writer’s block may be to blame, more than likely, it’s your surroundings. The average workplace comes with dozens of distractions – things that can take your mind elsewhere and keep you from getting down to business.
Eliminating these distractions is crucial if you want to productive.
Are you having trouble chiseling away at that to-do list? Have you found yourself distant and unable to concentrate or focus on your work? Addressing these 5 major workplace distractions could be your answer:
Constant email notifications can be a huge distraction. The little “ding” of a new message can interrupt your train of thought, and stopping to reply, send documents and read attachments can make getting back on track infinitely more difficult. While I certainly wouldn’t advocate avoiding email altogether, I do think reining it in is important. Make it a point to check your email at a certain time every hour, but not before or after that time. This will allow you to be productive, while still staying on top of your inbox.
2. Social networks
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest – they’re all great time-wasters, and they keep us connected with our friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, though they certainly have merits, they don’t lend themselves to a very productive workday. The constant alerts, messages and updating newsfeeds can be a major distraction, and they can keep you from focusing on the tasks at hand. The best thing you can do is log out of all social media platforms while you’re at your desk. If you really feel the need to check up on your accounts, use your lunch break for it, that way your work isn’t interrupted.
3. Your phone
Most of us are attached at the hip to our cell phones. We’re on them constantly – texting, reading blogs, checking email, snapping photos. And while these amazing devices certainly make our lives easier, the truth is they can also hurt our productivity, too. The constant urge to pick it up, check up on your apps and texts, and play games can be a real distraction – especially when they all sound more fun than the current task at hand. If you don’t need your phone for work, then lock it away in a drawer during the day. Keep it out of view (and arm’s reach), and don’t take it out again until lunchtime or, better yet, when it’s time to clock out for the day.
4. Your colleagues
Being friends with your co-workers is great. In fact, it’s encouraged. It makes the workday go faster, and it keeps you excited to head to the office every morning. But though you may be hitting happy hour together once 5 p.m. rolls around, it’s important to keep it professional until then. Hanging around in common areas, chatting with your neighbor and gossiping about others at the office can be a real hindrance to your productivity – not to mention your colleagues’, too!
Before I went freelance, meetings were the bane of my existence. They took valuable time out of the day, and they kept me from being productive, efficient and focused on my work. Now I’m not saying that some meetings don’t have merit. Big group projects, meetings with potential clients – those are all important ones you should go to. But if you’re scheduling a meeting about something you could easily send an email about, think again. There’s no reason to make everyone’s day come to a screeching halt just for a quick check-in. Better yet, set your team up on a project management software (like TeamworkPM), so everyone has visibility to all parts of your projects. They can send messages, share documents and keep apprised of developments – all from the comfort of their own office.
Next time you’re having trouble putting your nose to the grindstone, assess the distractions around you. If you can eliminate just one or two of these, you’ll have a much more productive day because of it. What are your favorite ways to stay focused? Were there any workplace distractions I miss? Let me know in the comments.