If you’re a business owner, oversee a department, or manage a team, you know how easy it can be to get pushed off balance by the slightest interruptions at work. With more responsibilities come more areas that need your attention – and this can lead to feeling scattered and stressed.
The truth is, no one is completely attentive to their work 100% of the time – and distractions are par for the course. But if those interruptions are not managed, they can seriously erode your ability to focus and may lead to factual mistakes and poor judgment.
There are a number of common workplace disruptions that many of us endure. These include never-ending e-mails, text messages, personal calls, co-worker or client interruptions, last-minute requests, unscheduled meetings, loud voices in the hall…the list goes on.
So, if you find yourself losing focus at work, here are five suggestions that can help:
Establish Quiet Spaces
Noise is a major contributing factor on the distraction front, but designating quiet spaces in different areas of your office can help. This way, workers deep in thought can set up their laptops and plug away in those no-talking zones, while those less bothered by outside noise can stay at their desks and be social while doing their jobs.
Set Guidelines for Noise Levels
Some degree of background noise is natural for an office setting. But some folks take that concept to an annoying extreme and drag everyone down in the process. While you can’t expect your employees to sit silently at their desks without uttering a peep, you can set guidelines on appropriate levels of noise for a workplace environment. That way, the sales manager in the corner with a tendency to sing along with his music might get the hint.
Try No-Meeting Days
Though meetings are often a necessary part of conducting business, they can serve as a major distraction if you’re in one every 30 minutes. And while you can’t eliminate meetings from your employees’ schedules completely, you can set up a policy that prohibits meetings from occurring on certain days – or certain timeframes. This way, you and your employees are guaranteed longer stretches of uninterrupted work time.
Organize your Workspace to Minimize Visual Distractions
A messy desk can be where chaos is born, and the organization goes to die. That’s why it’s important to keep only the project you’re currently working on in front of you. This holds true for your computer – try to keep only one project or task open on your screen vs. having several windows open concurrently. It’s a lot easier to stay focused, plus it’s a lot less stressful.
Manage your Time
A good way to get work done is to plan your day in advance. Make a list of the work to be completed throughout the day and how much time to devote to each of these tasks. Another good time management tool is to sort out your tasks based on their difficulty and urgency and finish the work that seems the easiest. This will give you the feeling that you’ve achieved more before the day is over.
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