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How to battle distractions at work!

Posted by
28 Oct 2014
Let's face it we all work hard and we all work long hours but are the hours we are working the most productive they could be?

After recent training I've undertaken, I realised that I can be too easily distracted at my desk. Some things are unavoidable like a telephone ringing but others I can take control of such as being distracted by incoming e-mails.

The first step to being more productive is to realise how you are distracted, and here are some examples:
  • Over surfing the web
  • e-mails
  • Dealing with non urgent tasks
  • Talking to colleagues
  • No planning
  • Too much planning
The next step is to combat them:
  • Over surfing the web - close down pages which are not relevant to work, use the pages smarter by knowing what you want to find before you start the search and set a specific amount of time you can spend doing it.
  • e-mails - close these down during your busiest period of work so you con concentrate on the task in hand, people will know other urgent ways to contact you so they will.
  • Dealing with non urgent tasks - i.e. taking a phone call with a customer. If you take a call you are not prepared for, you will waste time. Remind yourself why you called them before answering the phone. If you cannot take the call - ask your colleague to find out when a good time to call them back is and a message about why they called. If you call is with a colleague, ask your colleague to call you back at a more convenient time when you will have less work to do.
  • Talking to colleagues - whether it's the Great British Bake Off Final or the news etc we can be so easily distracted, make it clear that you are part of the team but in busy hours you need to get your head down and lunchtime can be used to catch up on the gossip. If you work in a competitive environment, engage them in your work and create competitions so they are as busy as you and less distracting.
  • No planning - if your workload is really busy writing a to-do list of priorities, and allocate time to get each done in your day. By planning your day out and allocating certain amount of time for each task - it means you won't spend longer than needed on what particular thing and you should be able to manage your time more efficiently and get more out of your day.
  • Too much planning - can also be a negative as you may waste time planning rather than doing your job. The importance is to get the balance right.
Another thing to ensure your working to the best of your ability is to make sure you take rests throughout the day. Even if it is making a cup of tea at the end of a task - it will mean when you return to your desk you will feel fresher and be able to work better. If you work in an office it's also important to stay hydrated and get fresh air when you can. If you have brought your lunch with you to work, you may be inclined to eat it at your desk but make sure you take a walk around the block at lunch time or nip to the shops to pick up something you need.  This will help keep your brain engaged and wake you up.
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