In today’s open office environment, It's common to get distracted in the workplace. People passing by your desk, colleagues sharing funny stories, and random noises outside can cause you to lose focus. When you are trying to concentrate on your work, this can be super frustrating.
Luckily, you don’t have to let these distractions get in the way of your productivity. This article by New York Meditation Center outlines some concentration techniques. Here are 12 tips and tricks on how to avoid distractions and stay focused at work.
1. Identify common distractors: This should be done during your free time to avoid missed deadlines. Have a notebook ready to write down anything that distracts you and everyone else from work. Write all these down before coming up with possible solutions.
2. Create a to-do list: Plan your day purposefully by creating a to-do list, starting with the most critical tasks. Allocate enough time for these tasks and work on them when the office/workplace is calmest. This will help you from falling in the busy but not productive trap of endless e-mails.
3. Take a break between tasks: Make it a habit of working on one task for a maximum of 90 minutes, then take a break to rejuvenate. Working continuously without taking a break only wears you down, making it harder to perform as the day progresses. Reward yourself with 5- 20-minute breaks between tasks.
4. Schedule distractions: The distractions are going to happen anyway, why not create some time for them. Use these distractions (such as social media, email notifications, and chatting with a friend) as a reward after completing a major task.
5. Avoid checking emails while you work: While emails provide an effective way to communicate with clients, they are a major distractor. Dedicate times when you will check, read, and respond to emails, at least twice in a day. This can be during your break or after completing your assignment.
6. Don't use your phone: Smartphones are the biggest catalysts to distractions in the workplace. Keeping your phone at a distance, switching it off or in silent mode can, however help you focus on tasks at hand effectively. Set aside times when you will respond to calls, or make calls when you have to.
7. Avoid the browser and social media: Social media is here to stay. While most of us may be addicted to Facebook and Twitter, it would be advisable to keep your internet browser closed while you work. If possible, turn off that screen to focus even more.
8. Let your colleagues know you are busy or trying to focus: Make your intentions to block chunks of time to your time to concentrate known to all around you. It's by doing this that colleagues will think twice before coming to your desk. This thus leaves you with lots of time to concentrate on your work.
9. Have your headphones ready: If trying to concentrate but can't handle movements and noise around you, invest in noise-canceling headsets. Wear the headsets each time you need some quiet and wade off distractors. Very few will request for your attention when they see you all geared up.
10. Move to a quieter room: If working on a complex project or are under pressure to complete an assignment, moving to another location or room may help you focus better. You could move away from the people you work with to another place, say an empty office or a conference room.
11. Close the door: You could also move to an empty office and close the door behind you. You could lock yourself in it if possible – everyone will understand.
12. Delegate some of the work: There are instances when the workload is too much for you to handle. It's okay to seek help from your colleagues to get the job done. Delegating some of the work should allow you to concentrate even better hence accomplish much more in the long run.