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The 3 Biggest Workplace Distractions (and How to Avoid Them)

By Charles Trivett | Oct 4, 2016 | Candidate Tips

Workplace DistractionsEver have days when you just can’t seem to get anything done?

You know, those days when you feel uber-busy and the work’s non-stop but for some reason, by close of play, you have very little to show for it..?

We know how you feel!

So this week, we’re discussing three of the most common workplace distractions – that could be affecting your performance – and how you can banish them from your working day, for good.

1. Technology.

Shocker!

Ok, ok, this one is fairly obvious, yet millions of professionals out there are still allowing the following things to absolutely rinse their time…

  • Texts.
  • Calls.
  • Emails.
  • Social media.
  • Games.
  • Cat videos.
  • General internet browsing.

In fact, a survey showed that the average employee admitted to spending 1.5 hours a day at work, on social media! That’s horrendous.

So if you’re guilty of getting distracted by any of the above, it’s seriously time to do something about it. You’d be shocked how much time you could be wasting, without even realising it.

The Solution:

Switch is off; yes, all of it.

Put yourself on a strict 60 minute techno-ban (longer if you can cope). And yes, that includes…

  • Your email account.
  • Your internal communication program.
  • Your phone.

Seriously, you’d be surprised how refreshing it will feel – and how your productivity will suddenly soar!

2. Other People.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to suggest you ban other people from your life.

But certain co-workers could be a real drain on your time and productivity (you know who they are).

Here are some examples…

  • The Gossip.
  • The Prankster.
  • The Office Clown.
  • The Pointless-Meetings Addict.
  • The Constant Moaner.

Thing is; it’s good to have a laugh at work, but there comes a time when you need to get serious and get your head down and these bad influences aren’t going to let you do that.

(If YOU are one of those bad influences… shame on you!)

The Solution:

So, you’ve already shut down all technological distractions (I hope) – now you need to deal with the real world and somehow deter people from approaching and distracting you. You could…

  • Introduce a new system at work where staff who really want to focus can block out some time in their calendar and call it “QUIET TIME” or “POWER HOUR etc.” It’ll soon catch on.
  • Find somewhere quiet to work like a meeting room or one of the quieter offices.
  • You could listen to music. This may seem rude at first, but people will soon get used to it and realise that your earphones are basically a big fat sign saying “DO NOT DISTURB.”

I wouldn’t recommend listening to music that has lyrics! It can be even more distracting.

3. YOU!

Is the problem actually just YOU?

Do you get bored easily and go out of your way to distract yourself? Or have you just always found it really difficult to focus?

Perhaps you get overexcited and constantly ditch projects to start new ones – under the guise of “multi-tasking.”

STOP! Take a breath. You could be sabotaging yourself and your career.

The Solution:

You’re just going to have to work on improving your ability to concentrate.

  • Make a plan and stick to it. You have to be strict with yourself now; no multi-tasking and no starting something new, until you’ve completed whatever you’re currently working on.
  • Practice makes perfect. Seriously, starting off small with say 30 minutes of intense focus, then building it up slowly, you’ll soon start to notice a difference in your concentration levels.
  • Eat the right foods. Blueberries, oily fish and walnuts have all been proven to boost focus and productivity. Click here to find out what other superfoods could help!
  • Read, do yoga and/or meditate. Activities like these have been proven to help improve focus and concentration (and of course, relaxation).
  • Train your brain. Check out this article from Entrepreneur for some more tips.

There are plenty of ways to improve your focus, but you will have to work for them.

Not all procrastination is bad…

Look, all of us procrastinate from time to time.

And in fact, some studies have even shown that the occasional bit of procrastination will make you more productive in the long run.

So it’s important for you to try and work out whether you’re really that bad.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Do you get distracted at work because you’re bored? Need more of a challenge?

I recommend having a read of this article from Forbes.

It gives some good, straightforward advice on when it’s time to seek a fresh start.

Want more tips? Sign up to this blog – HERE – to receive a quick weekly update with our latest careers advice and job-seeking guidance.

Good luck.

- Charles Trivett
Charles - blog author

Charles Trivett

Charles heads up Coburg Banks’ IT Division, and has worked in recruitment for nearly 20 years.  His knowledge of how to optimise and get the most from a recruitment campaign is second to none, and he now works with a select handful of clients in maximising their recruitment ROI.

> More blog posts by Charles Trivett

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