Common Workplace Distractions and How You Can Stay Focused Anyway

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Common Workplace Distractions and How You Can Stay Focused Anyway

Knowing what the distraction is and how it is happening can help you make a plan to squash these interruptions. Here are the most common disturbances that you should address in your workplace — ASAP.

1. Smartphones

No surprise here. After all, the average person in the U.S. views their phone 52 times a day. And, it’s easy to understand why. We’re bombarded throughout the day with emails, texts, social media notifications, and phone calls. Additionally, we use our phones to jot down reminders, view our calendars, listen to a podcast, or go shopping. No wonder we’re addicted.

Scheduling specific times throughout the day also helps cut down on “during work-hours usage.” For example, I turn my phone on silent when I need to focus solely on my work. Usually, this takes around two hours. After I’ve completed my work, I check my phone to make sure I haven’t missed anything important. To ensure that I don’t get too consumed, I only give myself 10 minutes of phone-time before diving back into work.

2. Emails

Like your smartphone, there’s also the temptation to stop what you’re doing and check your inbox as soon as a new message arrives. Unfortunately, if you did this all day, how could you possibly get any work done?

The easiest solution is to turn off your email notifications on your phone. You should also close any apps or web browsers containing your email. I also use an app like SaneBox to manage my inbox because it filters out the messages that aren’t important.

The most important thing to remember is if there’s an emergency, you aren’t just going to be notified via email. People will call you or knock on your door. Everything else can wait until you have the scheduled time to go through your inbox.

3. Background noise

Take a moment and really listen to all of the noise going on in an office. People are talking, machines running, phones ringing, and doors opening/closing. That’s not even getting into the annoyances like coughing, loud snacking, or music playing.

Background noise is inevitable. If it becomes too distracting, you should invest in noise-canceling headphones or relocating to a quieter area when you need to give a task 100 percent of your attention.

4. People interruptions

Like background noise, interruptions from employees, customers, suppliers, and family are unavoidable. Engineers on Quora identified, “shoulder tapping,” as one of their most common distractions.

One way around this is keeping your office door closed when you don’t want to be disturbed. For good measure, place a “do not disturb” sign on the door. If you work in an open office space, send signals like wearing headphones and being honest. If someone has a direct and work-related question, give them the answer and move on.

5. Clutter

While in small doses a little clutter can encourage a creative mind, the fact is that a messy workplace affects your ability to focus and process information. Confusion and disorder are essentially a to-do-list that reminds you of everything that needs to be done. As such, it pulls you away from being present. Over time, this makes you more anxious and stressed.

The fix? Keep your workspace clean and organized. Toss out the items you no longer need. Place paperwork in the appropriate files. Ideally, you should put as much paperwork on the cloud as possible to reduce the number of filing cabinets. Make sure that all of your office supplies have a home and are returned at the end of the day.

Click here to read the original article.