Staying productive at work is becoming more complex, thanks to the countless distractions around us. From endless meetings, phone calls and emails, to the shrill ringing of your phone notifications, distractions at work constantly threaten your concentration and work.
In a best-case scenario, an office should feel like a place where you can meditate and relax to maximise work performance. However, that is rarely the case in our digital age.
So, what are the ways with which you can increase your potential by avoiding day-to-day distractions while maximising your potential? Here are some tips to avoid distractions at work and stay focused on the task.
Plan everything in advance
Preparation and planning can help you focus on your work. So plan everything before even arriving at the office. Once your plan is set in motion, it's easier to stay away from distractions as everything flows from your plan, i.e., your subsequent actions and their results. You can also incorporate a set time for email notifications and other distractions as part of your overall strategy.
Get enough sleep at night
It's hard to imagine that you first need to have adequate resting time to be more productive. Sleep is perhaps the most crucial thing for concentration. Doctors recommend that healthy adults require eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
This is true: skipping on sleep is counterproductive to performance and focus. Through evolution, your body is used to an internal biological clock known as "circadian rhythm." An adaptation of the body to the patterns of day and night cycles of our planet.
Following this pattern and maintaining a consistent and healthy sleep cycle can improve your focus and determination to work. Minimising light exposure to your eyes (phone, computers, etc.) before going to sleep in sync with this cycle has been known to improve sleep quality for people with insomnia.
Minimise tech distractions
Not all applications are distractions. Some of them might help you with your work goals. There are several free software with which you can manage your work, avoiding distractions.
Their features include locking websites, which you think might be a constant distraction and best ignored when working. Offering plugins with which you can manage your smartphone notifications and mute them when necessary and also to-do lists. The benefits: focus and increased productivity.
Have a goal-oriented approach
It is normal to procrastinate on more significant tasks because of the sheer volume of work needed. A more innovative and much more efficient approach would be splitting them into smaller parts, which can be effectively tackled without being overwhelmed with work.
People usually point out that lack of motivation is a critical factor in being distracted from their tasks. This approach eliminates this by converting a complex task into smaller, simple ones.
Use earplugs or headphones
If you work in an environment that does not need you to interact with colleagues and need complete silence, this method is for you. Your co-workers will understand that you're trying to focus, and they will do their best not to disturb you.
Of course, this also safeguards you against background office noise. Earplugs are a better option as they block as much as 20 decibels of noise, but headphones can also do the same function.
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Schedule your work and breaks
Work done for eight hours straight with a minor break in between can be daunting and makes you prone to being distracted. Instead, work on shorter fixed times and take a periodic break, such as 20 minutes of work and five minutes of break.
A timer can help you manage your work and breaks using this method. With this setup, focus on the task, and take a break only after the timer goes off, setting aside all distractions. You can slowly adjust your work hours with breaks and experiment with timings; the aim here is quality work.
Another effective way to keep yourself from distractions is through motivational stickers attached throughout the workspace. If you feel distracted, focus your attention on the stickers.
The message should be motivational and inspire you to take action and concentrate. Some example phrases that work well for people include, "You should work," "You can do it," and "Focus."
Build a positive feedback loop
It is always important to treat yourself well whenever you finish a task on time and appreciate your effort and commitment. This will create a positive loop of action and reward that will motivate you to stick with your schedule.
Try playing music
Your favourite music in the background can be a great way to concentrate when working. This can often be a preference, however. So first, test things out if music allows you to concentrate and manage tasks.
You might avoid other distractions, or if you are a person who prefers a quiet environment in the office, earplugs might be a better option.
Maintain a ledger
This one is for people who prefer using pen and paper. Having a book and a pen to avoid distractions can be effective. You can strike out all the tasks you have completed and focus on the rest with determination. Whenever you feel distracted from a mail or notification, you can note it in the ledger and follow up later.
Be kind to yourself
Being hard on yourself too often because you did not follow your schedule or did not focus enough can hurt your mental health. Whenever you miss a deadline because of distractions, it's better to motivate yourself to stick to your schedule.
Arduous tasks require self-confidence to focus and concentrate. Low self-esteem will make it harder to build persistence.
In our digital world, distractions are plentiful, but don't let them distract you from your task at hand. If you follow the above steps, you can avoid distractions, manage your time, and focus on your work. As a result, your productivity will increase exponentially.
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