Looking to increase daily productivity by limiting work distractions? When working flexibly or from home, this can require a great deal of focus and the ability to change your environment.
If you are looking to eliminate work distractions, here are eight tips that can put you on the right track to eliminate work distractions:
1. Change Your Physical Layout
A desk that faces a door or hallway lends itself to looking up when someone passes by and then striking up a conversation so as not to appear rude. Alter your setup to avoid eye contact, perhaps by turning the desk around or using cabinets to obscure a direct view.
If you work from home, organize your workspace in a way that will help you enhance your focus and maximize your productivity.
2. Pick a New Environment
When chatty coworkers hinder your focus, take refuge in a quiet conference room.
If your company allows flexwork, consider remote work when you have a project demanding full attention. However, while working from home enables greater control over your environment, it also comes with its own distractions.
To successfully deal with distractions while working from home, set realistic expectations for yourself and establish boundaries with members of your household, as well as with friends and neighbors.
3. Tell Others When to Come Back
“If you want to reduce the risk of interruption, post a sign that requests you not be interrupted until a specific time,” suggests Bary C. Sherman, CEO of PEPworldwide-USA. “A ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign does not work because it does not give enough information for someone to make a business decision on whether to interrupt or not.”
If you’re working remotely, clearly communicate your availability to your clients and colleagues. You can do this by establishing workday routines or by creating a shared calendar, for example.
4. Schedule a Brief Meeting
Always getting interrupted by the same person? Set up a time when the two of you can have a focused discussion. Mutually agree to hold off all but the most urgent matters until then.
5. Respect the Golden Rule
“If the person you need to talk to is head-down typing away at his keyboard, then go away and give him the time to finish. Most things can wait a few minutes or even hours,” Sherman says. “People tend to treat you as you demonstrate you wish to be treated. Do not interrupt others, and they will not interrupt you.”
6. Control Technology
Simply put, open only what is needed at the moment. If Facebook has nothing to do with your job, stay off of it to avoid the “I’ll just look for a second” temptation.
Schedule points during the day in which to check email and respond. Others will get to know your routine and not expect an immediate answer. (If it makes you feel better, create an auto-response detailing when you’ll reply.)
7. Limit Distracting Thoughts
“If you think it, ink it,” says Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro. She notes that people have a “fear of forgetfulness” that often compels them to act on whatever idea comes into their head before they lose it. Instead, quickly jot down thoughts to deal with later, and get back to the task at hand.
8. Take a Scheduled Break
Finally, remember that people are not robots. Allot some guilt-free time to socialize, move around, and recharge. Looking forward to a planned break can keep you from “searching” for a distraction!
Written by: Beth Braccio Hering
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