8 – Expert tips to avoid distractions at work

Because of an exponential rise in screen time in the last couple of years, in order to be productive, it has become very important to rightfully manage your precious time and to avoid distractions at work. Millions of distractions on your phone are always surrounding you. They are just one click away. Therefore, it is you who needs to take action to control them. It doesn’t matter whether you are at your workplace or working from home, these distractions will not leave you anywhere. However, by following these 8 expert pieces of advice, you can deal with them in a strategic way.

Always be on the watch

Before you tackle distractions, it is required to take stock of everything that distracts you at work. Find a day when you can keep a check on it and identify things that consume most of your time. See what the real distractors are and what is it that can be delegated to others. This lets you make a better plan to deal with such distractors effectively.

Schedule breaks at frequent intervals To avoid distractions at work, start by making your To-Do list. Prioritize the daily tasks on your list and aim to complete the most important and urgent ones first, as well as time-taking chores like preparing a presentation for a client. Set completion time for each task and give yourself breaks so you may stay refreshed to deal with each task with complete energy, concentration, and alertness. Stay disciplined to follow your schedule.

Restrict your cellphone use:

Personal technology like smartwatches and smartphones have blurred the boundaries between personal and official communication. You keep receiving endless notifications, messages, as well as social media comments, pictures, and other information at odd timings.

All this distracts you and consumes your work time. Later, it gives you stress when you are left with not much time to complete your jobs. Thus, you must effectively schedule your correspondence time. You should also keep it short and only respond to messages that really need action. Similarly, you may switch off your phone or put it on voicemail while doing critical work.

Don’t let your Internet browser distract you

Social media and unnecessary Internet browsing are great productivity killers. To avoid distractions at work, you should have the willpower and mental strength to close your browser so you cannot give yourself access to social media while doing important tasks. It will help you maintain focus and concentration on what is critical. In fact, you can use social media as a reward to yourself after you complete a task successfully and take a break.

Comply with the Law of the Vital Few

According to this law, just 20% of possible causes lead to 80% of a given effect. Follow this by identifying 20% of your activities that push you 80% closer to goals. The activities that can contribute the most always include the ones you are specially skilled to do. For instance, your 20% should include making a business strategy, writing a paper, designing software, or other such activities that you are good at. Such activities will not involve responding to emails, sending messages on WhatsApp or commenting on Facebook or Twitter, as even a student can do that.

Use headphones

In your office cubicle, use headphones to cut distractions from colleagues or other action. It will not only cancel noise but also keep people away when they see you all geared up. If your employer allows it, you may also listen to music while working on something that doesn’t require too much focus.

Move to a quiet location

While you can request people not to disturb you for some time or keep your cabin door closed, it may not always be effective. In such a case, to avoid distractions at work, you can try moving to another peaceful location until you complete your task. You may go to a conference room or an empty room in your office or to a garden if you don’t find quite surroundings at home.

Delegate some work

Instead of being egoistic, ask for help from colleagues or your staff. Delegate some work to them and give yourself a break to become more efficient.  Everyone has their strong points. If you delegate your work in accordance with everyone’s expertise, your work would be done effectively and in lesser time.

Look busy and be strong

Look busy and be strong

We often feel that it is quite rude to ask someone not to disturb you even when you are working on something important. However, this habit is counter-productive not only in the sense that your efficiency gets affected but also it does not leave a good impression of you on the other person.

This happens because when someone disturbs you and you are unable to say anything then your anxiety and irritation become visible in your body language and tone of voice. This gives an impression that the other person is annoying you or you do not like talking to them.

So, if you are in the middle of something important, then try to be strong and let people know that you are busy right now. In general, most of the people are very respectful of another person’s time and so, no one is going to feel bad about that.

Eliminate the “snooze” effect

if you are hungry

We often tend to ignore the needs of the body like rest and food whenever we have a lot of work to do. However, only half of your concentration remains on your work when working in such situations, the other half will be focused on the lasagna that has been lying in the refrigerator since the morning.

This is similar to the ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock, which means that you have not stopped the alarm has not been stopped, but you have just delayed it.  It will continue to ring again after some time.

In the same way, you can make yourself focus on your work for some time but if you are hungry then eventually you’ll find yourself thinking about the sandwiches and pizzas.

So, if you want yourself to be away from distractions, then make sure that you don’t suppress your body signals.

Calm your mind

Calm your mind

In most of the cases, we feel that others are distracting us but the fact is that we are our biggest distractions. There are a lot of troublesome thoughts which start to buzz in your mind as soon as you start to concentrate on anything.

It is very difficult for our mind to stay focused on one thought as it continuously jumps from one to another. So, you need to calm your mind; meditation is a great way of doing this. Not only does it calm your thoughts, but also it will improve your concentration.

Whenever you feel stressed and find it hard to concentrate on work, just stop doing whatever you have been doing and take a few deep breaths, forget about everything else and let your body relax. Allow your thoughts to flow naturally.

If your mind starts to wander again from one thought to another, then bring your attention back to the breathing pattern. Although meditation requires a little practice before you start enjoying its benefits, the efforts are really worth the outcome.

Final Words

To avoid distractions at work is a piece of cake when you actually know what the actual distractions are. Search them and then destroy or limit them. Though you might have to put some effort in the beginning but once you have sorted things out, it would all be worth it.

Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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