It’s a struggle sometimes to get the most out of your work day. With interruptions, distractions, disturbances and maybe even some interferences, what’s a worker to do? How can you fight distractions that are causing you to lose valuable minutes every day? Keep reading to find out some of the top ways to fight workplace distractions, so that you can produce high-quality work and get ahead in your career!
Be aware of them
It’s the end of the day already and it seems you’ve got nothing accomplished! Distractions are everywhere, so how are you going to get anything done? The first thing you must do to fight distractions is know what they are! You aren’t going to be able to get rid of frequent distractions unless you know exactly where they’re coming from. By creating an activities log for all your time and tasks, you’ll be more likely to accomplish what you need to each day and see what types of interruptions are happening the most. Once you know exactly what interferes with your work regularly, you can then begin to make changes that will make you more productive, reduce your stress, and improve work quality.
Budget your time
If you try and work from a long list of To-dos it can cause you to look at the same items over and over. Be sure to write down tasks on a single sheet of paper or electronic list, prioritize, and schedule time for them. In this that way your items are prioritized throughout the day and easy to follow. Having an overwhelming To-Do list may make you procrastinate more simply because you have so much to do and you don’t know where to start! By breaking the items down you can ensure you won’t forget anything and you are using your time wisely!
Manage your work environment
How on earth can you think straight when there are so many things on your desk? A disorganized desk or office is distracting, making it difficult to think and plan clearly. If you’re under pressure to complete a project try working someplace other than your desk. Try a conference room or empty room to help you gain back concentration. Go anywhere you can completely devote yourself to your work. After the project, clean up your desk so you are ready with a clean workspace.
Maybe it’s not your messy desk that’s distracting you. If you have a work environment where impromptu meetings are frequent, it might be difficult for you to set aside time to work on your own projects. You must schedule specific time to focus on your own projects during the day, then you are more likely to accomplish these tasks right away! Encourage your teammates to schedule a time so that you and they are able to focus on the meeting topic at hand while you are not distracted by other items needing attention.
Tackle your email and use the action priority matrix
Email is one of the most frequent distractions we are faced with on a daily basis. By taking control of your inbox and limiting how often you check on and address email you can stay sane and focused on our job! If an email will take more than a few minutes to handle or respond to, add it as a new item on your to do list and prioritize the item. In doing this you don’t lose track of the item. This can help you overcome the tendency to focus on unimportant/urgent activities first.
So how does the action priority matrix work? After some training I participated in the past few months, I have adopted this effective tool for combatting my emails with great success! I classify the activities in to four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. Here is some brief information on how this works:
Important activities lead to the achievement of your goals.
Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are associated with achieving someone else’s goals.
If your activities are:
- Important AND Urgent: DO IT NOW!
- Important NOT Urgent: SCHEDULE ON YOUR CALENDAR!
- NOT Important BUT IS Urgent: ASK YOURSELF - RESCHEDULE OR DELEGATE?
- NOT Important NOT Urgent: CANCEL, DELAGATE OR DECLINE!
Take action today!
We face distractions on a daily basics. If you take action on these items starting today, you stand a greater chance of improving your productivity yet this week, and even more so in the coming weeks! These are just a few strategies that have worked for me and my coworkers, I welcome your comments on other ways that help you avoid workplace distractions.