What do you do to keep yourself from getting distracted at work?

Whether the distractions you experience at work occur because of someone else in the office or because you could benefit from a different routine, you can take various steps to help you focus longer and get more work done. Here are several ways you can overcome distractions in the workplace or in your home office:

1. Create a distraction-free workspace – If your desk and office have a lot of clutter, organizing your work area may help you feel more focused and alert. People who work in untidy offices have more within view to cause distractions, so they often find that making their workspaces tidy and orderly helps them focus better on their work. You can do easy chores like throwing away trash, putting office supplies in drawers or cabinets and wiping down surfaces every workday to help prevent distractions caused by clutter.

2. Set daily goals – Many people find that creating a timeline for their day motivates them to complete the items on their list. They feel more committed to the tasks knowing they have other items to complete and finishing them provides a sense of accomplishment. Start your day by putting your priorities at the top of a list and adding tasks with less urgency toward the bottom. Checking off the items as you complete them can help you realize how much you get done when you make a plan for the day, which can encourage focus and minimize distractions.

3. Engage in more challenging work – After a while, doing the same work repeatedly can feel tedious, especially if you have a high proficiency in your field. If you could use a challenge to keep you from becoming distracted, consider asking a manager if they can help you learn a new skill or work on something more stimulating. Otherwise, you might consider searching for a new position that allows you to advance in your career, so you feel more engaged and less distracted.

4. Take breaks to relieve stress – If you sometimes feel overwhelmed at work, you might become distracted more easily. Some people avoid taking breaks because they think they would interfere with productivity, but breaks can actually help you get more done. You can compare giving your mind a rest after a long period of work to giving your body a rest after running a marathon. Rest has a necessary role in recovery, and that applies to both your body and your brain. Schedule 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day to walk away from your desk, meditate or eat a healthy snack.

5. Disable notifications – Text messaging, emails, social media and other digital services help people everywhere stay connected, but they can also create a disconnection between you and your work. Even if you’re working on something intently, the ding of your phone or a message on your computer can interrupt your workflow and cause a distraction. However, you can minimize this type of distraction by disabling all notifications when you need time to complete a task.

6. Establish deadlines for complex tasks – Just as creating a daily plan for your day contributes to fewer distractions, setting deadlines can help you stay on schedule as well. If you know a complex task will take an extended period of time to complete, you can prevent burnout and overcome distractions by setting a firm deadline for the task. Then, you can determine how much time you have left to devote to it and plan your working hours accordingly. Deadlines allow for more structured thinking, which prevents distractions.

7. Set time aside for less urgent activities – Some work tasks have lower time constraints than others, which makes them less of a priority. Depending on your job, duties such as answering emails, filing and returning phone calls can often wait until you have more time to dedicate to them. Switching between high and low-priority tasks may seem productive, but you may find it more beneficial to designate specific times for each. By putting high-priority assignments first, you can complete them without distraction before giving your full attention to less urgent work duties.

Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc. (nseiverd@cmiweb.com)

Source: Indeed Career Guide

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