Distractions are common within the office, whether it is someone on the phone, the printer going off or that colleague who just doesn’t stop talking- they happen more often than we would like. But how can we keep our focus with all of this going on in the background?
Firstly, we have to understand ways in which we can stay focused. For some people, going into a quiet room with no noise will work, whilst, for others, listening to music can keep them focused. Therefore getting to know the techniques that work for you will really help you when it comes to those pesky distractions.
Other people cause more of a distraction within the office space over anything else. This can be from other colleagues chatting, to the phone ringing. This is a distraction that will never go away, however, there are ways to avoid people in an appropriate way.
In many workplaces you will have a headphone rule. If a colleague has their headphones on it usually means they are not wanting to be distracted, this is a great way to politely let people know that you want to be left alone. However, this can not be done all day, everyday as you do not want to come across as rude. This method is great for those projects that need 100% of your focus but they do not last forever. And once they are done, you should enter back into the reality of the office hustle and bustle.
If you are lucky enough to work in an office which has chill out zones you could escape your desk and go to one of these spaces for a few hours and concentrate on what you are doing, without the distractions of people sat around you.
If you work online the distraction of checking what is going on in the world of Twitter and Facebook is hard to resist, especially if you are having a mental block or just need to take a break from what you are doing. But before you know it you have scrolled through an hours worth of status updates and tweets.
To avoid a social media distraction is hard because it’s so easy to just sign on and have a scroll through things. This is all down to willpower, or you can use a Google Chrome extension that allows you to block your access to a site after a certain amount of time. Social media is addictive, therefore, if you are having a mental block or just want to give your brain a rest from the workload, take a walk around the office and stretch your legs. This will also give you a break from your computer screen.
Background noise can be unavoidable in some offices. If you work in a large office then background noise is inevitable as you will have people talking on the phones, people typing and general chit chat between colleagues. This can be hard to get away from. The best thing to do is to just relax and try to block the background noise out by concentrating on the task at hand.
If you work in a small office the radio could be a distraction especially if it is a radio station that doesn’t specify in relaxing music. If you are having to focus on something important you could always turn the radio off. Your colleagues will understand and if they want to listen to music they can do so by using their headphones. This will keep the office quiet and everyone happy. Other colleagues may recognize they are able to focus more without the radio on and chose to keep it off for good or plug in earphones to cancel out some of the noise.
The space you work in can pose a distraction without you even realizing. If you have an untidy desk you can easily become distracted if you need to find something that isn’t right in front of you. Also, having your phone at hand on your desk can easily stop your from your work to text someone even if it is only asking them what they want for dinner.
To avoid this ensure you tidy your workspace so that items can be easily found, and keep your phone a distance away from yourself so you aren’t tempted to keep checking to see if you have any texts.
Ensure you are comfortable at your desk. Having an office chair that is uncomfortable can quickly distract you from your workflow as you will constantly be fidgeting trying to find a comfortable position to sit in. Sitting uncomfortably for long periods of time could cause health issues such as back and neck pain. Another great way to stay focused is to do exercises and stretches to prevent the back and neck pain before sitting down and starting the work you need to focus on.
Overall, there are always going to be distractions within the office, some of which you can avoid whereas others are impossible to get away from. Keeping your focus is essential to get through your workload, this can be done in a number of ways however you need to find what works for you. Share your best practices with us @thinkproductive
This piece was written by Amy at All Furniture Store, a sister company of Elm Workspace