Workplace Wellness: Avoiding Distractions
Check out four tips to help keep you focused while on the job.
Chicago — Faced with tasks that require a lot of time and energy, but you’re taking your time to get started? The sound of a social media or email notification can sound pretty sweet as you procrastinate. You might even be willing to strike up an unusually long conversation with a loved one or a colleague. Let's face it - sometimes we welcome distractions, even when we have pressing deadlines around the corner.
The truth is while it’s good to take breaks from work, distractions can be harmful in the long run. Not finishing my work deflates my confidence and makes me anxious.
Here are tips I turn to avoid distractions and stay focused:
Find a comfortable space
A comfortable space can be a driving force for getting work done and making headway on a project. I personally work best in closed and quiet spaces, with not too many people around. Even the slightest bit of noise can catch my attention and take me away from my work. That’s why no matter where I am, I often bring headphones with me.
It can also be helpful to consider how you’re arranging things in your workspace. Make sure you have enough space to access the things you need, like your laptop, calendars or notepads. Make sure you cover these.
I become more susceptible to distractions when I don’t have a plan on how to manage my tasks. Nine times out of 10, if I don’t have a to-do list, my mind is guaranteed to wander. When I have an important article in my sights, I make sure to head into my comfortable space armed with a list of priorities. It helps even more to break down my tasks in detail, noting the status of my work and what I need to do next to progress.
Stay away from your phone (if you can)
You’ve heard this advice before. But here’s the thing: if you’re like me, you’ll need your phone while you're working. Maybe you’ll need to make calls, listen to voice memos or use other apps that help you stay organized. If that’s the case, try to do what you can to steer clear of social media while working. That might mean keeping the apps off of your phone or silencing your notifications.
Find a routine
What ties all these ideas together and supports your efforts to stay focused is a routine tailor fit for your needs. Some people like to listen to music as they work to keep them in a focused state. Others can’t get behind their laptop without a cup of coffee or a small snack. Make sure you experiment to find a routine that works best for you.