How to Deal with Office Distractions


We’ve all been there — you sit down at your desk to knock out a project that needs your time, attention and focus, and no sooner do you start, than an email pops up, someone stops by your desk to ask a question, you get a text message, your cubicle mate starts playing music, you spot a Buzzfeed article with funny cat pictures, or any number of other distractions pull you away from your work faster than you can say “Pinterest”. And those distractions are unlikely to go away anytime soon, so constantly trying to get away from them is a futile effort. But the good news is that you can learn to work through them. Here are some of our tips for how to deal with office distractions so that you don’t lose productivity or your sanity.

How to deal with office distractions

Limit the tech distractions
Spending time each day reading through your emails and responding to text messages is essential, but it’s equally essential to designate a time for those things. Once that time has passed, and when you’re working on something else, it’s time to close your email program, set your phone to silent, and and let your desk phone go to voicemail if needed. Additionally, save any personal calls you need to make for your lunch hour.

Create a quiet time
Not only do you need to set aside a specific time each day where you tune out distractions, it will often behoove you to let others know when you don’t want to be distracted. Set your IM to “away”, block out a chunk of time on your calendar, close your office door, put on headphones — whatever you need to do to not only create a quiet space to work, but also let others know that you’re trying to focus and will chat with them about last night’s episode of “Mad Men” later.

Nix the multi-tasking
We love to praise multi-tasking, but for a lot of us, multi-tasking just means doing a few things halfway instead of doing one thing really well. And often times, the more you let yourself multi-task, the more “tasks” there are that want to creep their way in. It all leaves you stressed that you’re not doing a good job on any of them and forgetting all the other things you need to do. Instead, create a list of what you need to get done, and check one thing off at a time — allowing yourself to focus on getting each thing done well.

Create healthy habits
Nothing kills productivity and focus faster than feeling tired and sluggish. Eliminating internal distractions is equally as important as eliminating external distractions, and the connection between your health and your ability to focus is stronger than you might think. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, drinking enough water, and regularly exercising will all help you to feel more alert, energized and focused at work.

We also love this great infographic on dealing with office distractions. When you take the time to recognize what’s pulling you away from your work consistently, creating a plan to combat them is often quick and simple.

Have you had success in learning how to deal with office distractions? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @trackvia with your thoughts.