Staying focused at work can be quite a challenge for almost everyone. With the standard 40 hours a week format that people have at work, there will be a time in the day when you won’t be at your productive best.
And as technology has progressed, there’s no dearth of things to take your attention away from the important stuff- starting from social media to Netflix.
Needless to say, completing your work on time should be a priority at work. And in order to achieve that, reducing your distractions to a minimum would help you in the long run. Working on your focus is only one of the many things you can try.
Read on to learn more about the various ways in which you can avoid distractions and be more productive at work.
Improve your working environment
Your working environment is one of the most important factors which affect your productivity. After all, you do spend a major part of your day there. And a positive environment can go a long way towards improving your mood and productivity at the workplace.
Visual distraction is one of the main culprits behind a person losing focus of the actual task at hand. And it can be as minor as paperwork on your desk which can put your mind off work. People walking around the office or even too many notifications can make you distracted.
The best way to combat this is to keep your workplace organised to start with. Reduce clutter at your desk, and keep minimal things at your desk. It is also important that you make the space positive. Try to sit next to a well-lit area, or put a focus lamp at your desk. Decorate the space with one or two small plants to make it more inviting for you.
Blocking visual distractions from colleagues can go a long way. But then you might have a smaller space or an open office floor plan which would be a problem if you get distracted by colleagues. Put folders or other obstacles which would prevent you from looking into your colleague’s desktop. You can also choose to sit facing a wall to minimise looking at people walking by.
Keep track of time at work
Once you have time on your side, you can achieve your targets and more at the workplace. However, keeping your focus constant throughout the whole time may be difficult. People with desk jobs are more prone to be victims of monotony and boredom at work, which may lead to more unproductive hours in the long run.
One of the main reasons why employees lose time is because of the ad-hoc way they do their work. 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.
A good rule of thumb is to sort out the tasks on their difficulty and urgency. Try to finish off the work which seems the easiest. This will give you the feeling that you have achieved more before the day is over.
You can use the same exercise to plan your whole week, or even, your month this way. Sit with your manager and colleagues, and plan out your work plan by breaking major tasks in sizeable chunks.
For larger projects where more resources are involved, a resource management tool can help achieve the team’s targets on time. The transparent interface would help the tasks allocated to each staff member. Managers can estimate the total time that will be required to complete the work while making sure that their resources are not overburdened with work.
Make efforts to focus better
More often than not, you can be your worst enemy when it comes to focussing on work. A few internal changes can help you change the way you conduct yourself at work, and help you finish work on time.
With cheap internet plans and easily available Wi-Fi, various apps have become a leading source of entertainment for employees today. However, it can become a problem when you are checking your social media a little too frequently while at work.
The best way to handle social media or technological distractions is to have frequent no-internet periods from time to time. You can plan these periods according to the urgency of the tasks at hand, or at specific times of the day when you feel the most distracted.
Grab a cup of your favourite beverage and isolating yourself from time to time can also help get over the distraction hump. Let your colleagues know beforehand that you are going for a no-disruption work phase, and will only be available for emergencies. This would help others to be aware of your resolve, and you’ll be able to function better.
Observe yourself and note the style of working that you follow. Maybe you are productive at certain periods of the day. Plan your day in such a way that you get the most work done during that time. If you are used to working in small stretches, take measures to keep yourself focussed during the work period, and not be distracted.
You can also be in charge of your social interactions, including meetings. A lot of time can be wasted in meetings when they are not planned properly. A good way to overcome this is to keep a precise and minimal agenda and involve only the people concerned.
And most importantly, try to keep them virtual and not in person. This way you’ll save time booking rooms and making sure that all the stakeholders are physically available.
Try to make your work flexible
Monotony can set in making your work a drab and eventually, reduce your morale. The same job and tasks which you were excited when you started working can seem uninteresting over time. A change in your work environment can be a great solution when this starts happening.
Working from home is an advantage that many employers have found useful. If your organisation is open to the idea of working from home, try to take advantage of it. Your productivity would increase with the change in your environment, and that too, to a familiar one.
Remote work options can also benefit employers. An improved morale aside, you can ensure that your employees are taking off work for only emergencies. As cities get busier, your employees are also relieved from long commutes and traffic. This will also ensure that your employees are attending meetings on time.
If you have a particularly noisy workspace, you can try listening to music and investing in some good-quality noise cancellation earphones. This can positively impact your mood, and help you focus better. Opt for soothing instrumental music, and make sure that you don’t have some heavy learning planned for the day.
End the day on a high note
Keeping your energy levels up throughout the day can be hard work for even the most diligent worker. However, if you can make your workday fun, you will be focussed enough to finish your deadlines on time and maintain your work-life balance with a positive frame of mind.
A positive frame of mind always helps maintain your energy levels. And there can be many ways of doing that depending on what works best for you. Take short breaks in between your tasks to keep your energy levels up.
The benefits of staying hydrated on one’s mental and physical health are well-known. Drink water regularly during your breaks to feel refreshed for the next round of work. You could also take going on short walks from time to time, and freshen yourself for the rest of the day.
Post work, spend some time reflecting on your day and plan for what you want to achieve the next day. This will help you end your day on a positive note. Try to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every day, which would help you wake up energized in the next morning. Indulging in some physical activity regularly would also align your focus for the day.
There are many factors which go behind getting work done productively at your workplace. From the above suggestions, you can choose the ways which work best for you to avoid distractions. But do remember that work is only a part of your day and life. And the better you segregate your work and personal life, the better will be your work-life balance.
What are the ways in which you combat workplace distractions and keep yourself and your staff motivated?
About the Author
Aakash Gupta is the expert authority in the smart workforce planning and resource management domain. With over 5 years’ of experience at Saviom Software to back this up, he has helped several multinational businesses around the globe diversify their project portfolio. Follow his work here.