Common Workplace Distractions (and How to Avoid Them)
Life has plenty of distractions, but it can be really difficult to keep your productivity up while working. Whether you’re in a singular office, cubicle, or open office space, here are some tips to help you out. Remember to set a good example for your co-workers and your office.
Working with Unproductive Coworkers
This is always a huge difficulty, especially on group projects. It’s rare to find a group where everyone is pulling their own weight. There’s nothing more irritating than trying to cover somebody while they’re not doing their job. It can be so distracting that it takes away from your own role. Remember that it’s not your job to take care of everyone. Stick to your job, but don’t be afraid to help them break down their tasks. It’s possible they’re really overwhelmed and don’t know how to get started. Have some empathy for them, but let them complete their own tasks so you can do a great job on your own.
Even if you’re best friends with your coworkers, they can be really distracting, especially if you have different amount of workloads to complete. Putting on some headphones can be a great way to block them out, and give them a sign that you’re working and focused. If they still bother you, try moving to a different space in the office, if possible. Last but not least, if all else fails, it’s okay to tell them you need to work and need some alone time.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem in the workplace. Whether it’s your boss incessantly checking in with you, telling you what and when to be working on, or constantly in your personal space, it can be really hard to focus on your work. And since it’s your boss, you don’t have the luxury of telling them to leave you alone. The best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. Try working from a community space where you’re not in your boss’s line of sight. If that’s not feasible for your workspace, try reverse psychology and keep checking in with them or be over-proactive and constantly send them updates on what you’re doing throughout the day—this makes it your decision to keep them updated instead of theirs. Odds are, they’ll get tired of it and chill on checking in with you so much. If all else fails, take some deep breaths, put on those headphones and do a quick meditation.
There’s only so much you can do to prevent environmental distractions. In the modern workspace, most people are working in an open office space, and in the open office space there are always people moving around, talking to each other, on phones, music playing, etc. There’s only so much control you can have over the office. Try learning the dynamics of the office. It might turn out to be really predictable. Adjust your schedule and placement of where you work and when. Coming in an hour or two early can be helpful to get your work done in peace and quiet–not to mention how much time after work you’ll have.
As hard as it can be to stay on a healthy schedule, having a quality sleep schedule can be really influential on your work performance. Distractions and stress only get worse if you’re not feeling your best. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, water, food, and exercise. Only you can control the degree to which workplace distractions affect you, and you’d be surprised what you can handle when you’re feeling healthy.
One of the biggest distractions is noise. Whether you’re with talkative coworkers or near people who are on their phone for their job, it can be really noisy and distract you. Using headphones can be one of the biggest solutions for almost any workplace problem these days. There is so much to listen to. From nature sounds to white noise to every type of music possible—it’s all at your fingertips. Different types of music and noise at different times of day can really change your mood.
So many offices rely on electronic apps and systems to communicate with each other. Being apart of group chats for business can be incredibly distracting and cause a lot of stress and irritation to keep up with it all. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to turn it off for awhile, so try minimizing your use of it—if possible. If that doesn’t work, at least turn off your phone notifications. Don’t check social media. It’ll improve your productivity and your mental health. Staying off of social media helps you keep your mind off what your friends and foes are doing that day. Focus on yourself!
Value Your Time
Let’s face it—not everyone is going to value your time or respect your effort at your office. Make the most of it. If possible, try to determine your own schedule and keep a daily to-do list. Make a pattern of how you want to work, and how you best work. Not being able to be yourself in the workplace only increases irritation and stress. If there’s a meeting you don’t need to be apart of, don’t be afraid to step out of it—if that’s an option.
A coworker or boss tapping you on the shoulder can be one of the most irritating distractions ever. Personal space is a huge deal. This is one of the most common workplace distraction complaints. You can’t really tell a boss to stay out of your personal space while you’re working. Some seem to lack boundaries at all—knocking on your desk loudly, tapping your shoulder, sitting down next to you. Some of these personal space issues are not okay in the workplace–and if you feel unsafe, say something. If they’re just irritating, the best thing to do is to try to protect your space. Don’t give them space to interrupt your work. If possible, keep them at bay by communicating online or by going to their office so they don’t have to interrupt you.
Leave Your Work at the Office
It can be really hard to leave your work at the office. But there’s only so much you can do, and you need to keep a healthy, stress-free lifestyle as much as possible. You’re doing as much as you can in the office, so don’t stress about it when you come home. You’ll feel a lot better if you can start each day with a fresh attitude. Pick up where you left the previous day, and get it done.
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