10 Quick Tips for Avoiding Distractions at Work

by Steve Glaveski

The average employee is getting interrupted 50 to 60 times per day, and most of these interruptions are unimportant.

As a result, people are spending little time in what psychologists call “the flow state”, a space where we’re most productive. So, how do we avoid distractions in the office in order to take control of our days, do our best work, and improve our emotional well-being? First, we must do away with the arbitrary “urgency” that still plagues workplaces the world over. There are very few actual “emergencies.” It’s OK to think: “I’ll get to it when it suits me.” Rather than sporadically checking things throughout the day, batch check email, instant messages, social media, and even text messages, at predetermined times.

Consider blocking out meeting-free zones on your calendar, turn off push notifications or put your phone in airplane mode, and try to find a quiet space to work. Use a signaling mechanism to let your team know when you’re in the zone and that they shouldn’t disturb you unless it’s legitimately urgent. This could be as simple as a pair of headphones, a cap, or a “Do not disturb” coat hanger on the back of your chair.

Organizations that build a culture around minimizing distractions will enjoy the compounding benefit of a focused workforce and will leave their people feeling less stressed and ultimately more fulfilled.

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