9 Quick Tips to Avoid Distraction at Work

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Every time you are distracted from a task at work it eats 15 minutes productivity from your day. You become more reactive and thus less purposeful.

Work in Blocks

Set yourself a task, do it and then reward yourself by grabbing a coffee or going for a quick walk etc. 60-90 minute blocks work best. Set an alarm to keep track of time.

Wear Headphones

Even if you don’t listen to anything, just wobble your head like you are. I have found that people are far less likely to disturb me if I’m wearing headphones. Especially if I use the extra effect of wobbling! It also stops me noticing other things in the office I don’t need to worry about. If I am doing something that requires more than the use of just a few brain cells, I always put headphones on; works a treat.

Switch Off

Switch off all your notification messages from social media, your inbox and any other “ping” that only serves to distract you. While we are on the subject of email, delete all those emails you have subscribed to that you don’t need. …..NO not now! Schedule a time.

Schedule Your Week

Fill your calendar to 80% so you only have a little wriggle room if you need it. This way you are never wasting time thinking about what’s next; it’s all there for you. Even if you need to move things around it will keep you on track. Put the big things in first, e.g. client appointments, weekly meetings, then the slightly smaller tasks, e.g. spend ½ hour managing your business social media, then the quick “to do’s”, e.g. call Jenny to book an interview.

Hardest Jobs First

Do the things that take the most brain power when you are at your best in the day. Also, I do the things I least like first so I can look forward to the things I enjoy more. This stops me putting off the things I don’t enjoy. Sad that after all these years in business that’s how I need to manage myself, but it works!

Dodging Chit Chat

If you find people are coming to chat, (all you people pleasers out there) don’t be afraid to let them know you are busy. I remember employees often saying to me they found this hard as they didn’t want to offend their colleagues. The funny thing is though, they all had the same complaint! So, we addressed the elephant in the room and then they all felt comfortable saying “not right now I’m busy” and nobody was offended.

Best Use of Time?

Get into the habit of asking yourself “Is this the best use of my time?” Put it somewhere to remind yourself in the beginning if you have to. For many years this has been a habit for me and it keeps me on track. It’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole and before you know it you have wasted half an hour and can’t remember what you were looking for in the first place! Or is that just me?

One thing at a Time

If you are an ideas person and also a “doer”, look out, you need this advice more than most. If you have a great idea, create a “Vault” for it and I mean jot it down and then lock it up until you can schedule time for it. If you don’t, you will have too many things on the go, nothing getting completed and a whole world of overwhelm to deal with.

Stop Checking your Phone

We’ve all seen the social media posts of photos on trains and in cafes where everybody is on a phone. This addiction to “constant phone checking” is killing your productivity. Not only that, it’s changing your brain! It’s OK to check it, the problem is when you are doing it every few minutes you get the double whammy. Not only is it likely to be the biggest distraction to your productivity, it is training your brain to make your attention span shorter and shorter, Dory.

Larry Rosen, Ph.D., research psychologist, and author of “iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us, says…

We rarely “focus and attend” any task for more than 3 to 5 minutes before getting distracted — primarily by emails, texts, and social media.

Everyone is different, so be mindful of what distracts you. You probably already know, but if you don’t, perhaps set yourself the goal of identifying 5 things in a week that distract you. Once you identify them, look for ways to minimise them and the above tips should help.

Thanks for Reading!

Belinda Kerr – Founder

Recruitment Garage



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