6 Ways for You and Your Employees to Avoid Distractions at Work
Emails, phone calls and chatty colleagues. The distractions we encounter at work seem to have no end. Constantly interrupting the time, when we are supposed to be the most productive, distractions at work oppose a big threat to smaller businesses everywhere.
Continuous distractions at work makes it almost impossible for you to enter the state of mind called flow, which according to several studies is the mental state where people reach their optimal productivity . When in this state you are able to solve difficult tasks at your maximum speed without feeling the negative consequences of the pressure. Furthermore it is enhancing the motivational and satisfying feeling of joy you can get from performing a task.
Besides keeping you from reaching the most productive state of mind the distractions cost you a lot of time and potentially the wellbeing of your employees. Studies have shown that it takes you an average 23 minutes to return to your task after being distracted and that constant distractions at work have proved to make you more vulnerable to stress . Because of that it is crucial for the productivity of your business that you avoid the situations where you or your employees might be distracted.
This is a six-step guide on how to do just that.
1.Schedule your day
The number one trick when it comes to avoiding distractions at work is to plan your day, week or month. By doing all three as separate plans you will always know what to do, when to do it and how it adds up to your long term goal. You will find yourself spending more time working and less time shifting between different tasks or wondering what you should do next.
Having a schedule with planned breaks interserped makes it easier to resist making small but repeating interruptions of your workflow like going to the bathroom or getting a cup of coffee.
Help all your employees make both short term plans for the day and the week and long term plans for the next couple of months to make it easier for them to resist distractions.
2.Avoid using Social Medias at work
Social Medias at the office is an absolute no-go. Medias like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are designed to capture our attention and retain it. The push notifications function as bait designed to remind us of their app and lure us back to their platform causing a distraction.
The only solution to this problem is to avoid the social medias whenever trying to stay focused. This includes closing the Facebook browser on your computer and turning off the notifications on your cell phone when at work.
3.Batch check your inbox
Constantly trying to keep up with new emails at work can be a both time consuming and very distracting activity. Every time you stop a task to read or respond to an email you have to spend time gathering your focus again afterwards.
Instead of checking your inbox constantly, try checking everything at once a couple of times a day. Right after a break for example. At that point you are already out of your flow and checking your inbox is not going to interrupt your work.
4.Get rid of interrupting calls
Just like emails and push notifications phone calls are a huge distraction when at work. One telemarketer can cause a lot of distraction by calling several of your employees trying to get a hold of the person responsible for purchasing specific item. As you can guess every person he calls is interrupted and has to spend the 23 minutes getting back into the zone.
It can be tempting to tell your employees to just turn off their phones or put it on flight mode to get all the telemarketers to shut up. But by doing that you would not only block calls from the telemarketers wasting your time but for potential customers and salesmen with relevant offers as well.
What you need is a service making it possible for the first employee to send the telemarketer to a website, on which he can log in and write his proposal. This way only one employee gets interrupted and the person responsible for purchasing the that type of item can access the proposal online whenever she wants without the risk of ignoring calls from potential customers.
5.Let people know you are trying to focus
Every time a colleague stops by your desk to ask you a question or to get your opinion is a distraction interrupting your work. This is why it is crucial for you to be able to signal to your coworkers when you are in the zone or trying to get there.
This can be done by simply telling your colleagues not to enter your office if your door is closed or the curtains are drawn. If you are working in an open office you can wear a pair of earphones to show you don’t want to be disturbed.
And by breaks I don’t mean those five or ten minutes pauses where you’re sitting at your desk scrolling through Instagram or surfing on the internet. By breaks i mean 5 to twenty minutes rests from working you should use to renew your energy and boost your ability to focus after the break.
Try leaving your desk to go for a walk outside during the break. This is going to boost your level of energy because of the change in the environment and the exercise is going to help you concentrate in the hour afterwards . Try bringing a healthy snack while you’re at it. This will cause your concentration of blood sugar to rise providing the much needed energy for the brain. Ending the break energized and ready to concentrate is going to make you more productive and less vulnerable to distractions.
Continuous distractions at work makes it almost impossible for you to enter the state of mind called flow, which according to several studies is the mental state where people reach their optimal productivity.