Working in an office has many undeniable social and professional benefits, but it also can be subject to a dizzying number of variables that can be potential distractions to productivity and focus. Whether it’s chatty coworkers, loud office parties, or construction happening in a neighboring hallway, we’ve all had to find ways of dealing with distractions in one form or another while working within an office setting. Add on top of the litany of potential noise-related distractions the fact that we all now have instantaneous access to the internet and social media at our fingertips, and it begins to seem like something of a miracle that any of us manage to get any work done at all.
As long as office jobs exist and technologies of distraction continue to become more and more accessible, it will be absolutely essential for professionals to develop the skills of focus and eliminating distractions. Easier said than done, we know. But it’s easier than you might think. By following the five basic tips outlined below, you can increase your productivity and focus and decrease your susceptibility to becoming distracted while at work.
Keep your workspace organized.
As the old saying goes, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. An orderly, organized, and clean workspace, on the other hand, will ensure that you’ll more easily be able to manage each of your tasks and keep distractions and anxiety at bay.
Focus on one thing at a time.
Given the demands of the modern workplace, it can often feel necessary to have to attend to multiple things at once. While this will certainly be unavoidable on certain occasions, it’s generally best to tackle one thing at a time, so that you can be able to give maximum and attention to each of your individual tasks.
Keep work time and communication time separate.
Communication is an integral part of nearly workday, but you should not allow your emails, social media, phone calls, or meetings to unnecessarily interfere with your productivity. At the beginning of each day, be sure that you have blocks of time dedicated to focused, communication-free work (don’t forget to close your email tab during this time), and other, separate blocks dedicated to answering messages, talking to colleagues, or attending to any other social necessities.
Plan your work around your individual productivity peaks and valleys.
Each of us has his or her own productivity “spikes” and “dips”. Some of us are maximally focused in the mornings and are more prone to distraction in the afternoons. Others find it difficult to dive into their work first thing and tend to gain momentum in their productivity as the day progresses. Pay attention to the patterns in your own workflow, and plan your tasks around them to ensure that you’re able to complete your most important tasks when you’re maximally engaged, energetic, and creative.
Take care of your physical health.
When we’re sleep-deprived, dehydrated, hungry, or otherwise not tending to our basic physical health, our workplace productivity and focus quickly declines. It also becomes much easier to get distracted by noise or our screens when we’re feeling physically unwell. In order to maximize our productivity at work, it’s crucial that we build and nurture routines (getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, taking breaks to eat nourishing meals) that optimize our physical health.
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