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Workplace Distraction

Personal calls can also throw a wrench into the laser focus needed to finish some projects.

We all feel as though there are not enough hours in the day. All it takes is one big, stressful project to make an eight-hour workday feel like 10 minutes. Part of the reason for this is, however, that other things tend to pull our focus away from where it should be. There are some simple solutions to this problem, as outlined in a Forbes.com article by Susan Adams, called “How to Overcome Workplace Distraction.”

Often, we are so interconnected, disconnecting in order to focus seems like an insurmountable task. You don’t have to disconnect from everything, however. Adams says that simple changes can make all the difference in how you perceive distractions. Turning the sound off on your e-mail, for instance. The auditory signal that something is waiting in your inbox can be very distracting, and can cause you to feel as if the e-mail is more urgent than it needs to be. Instead, if you absolutely have to focus, move your e-mail icon or box to a folder where it may be inaccessible until you seek it out.

Personal calls can also throw a wrench into the laser focus needed to finish some projects. There are a couple of ways around this. If, like many office workers, you have an in-office phone line, ask loved ones to call or text on a personal cell phone, so that you may answer at your discretion. Keep in mind, however, that your office line should be open to loved ones in the case of an emergency. Just ask them to use it sparingly, as your office phone line is, and should be, for business.

It is also beneficial to have good relationships with your co-workers, although often your co-workers may not know when you’re in desperate need of some quiet time to get things done. Of course, being friendly with co-workers fosters better work environments that allow for collaboration and the occasional blowing off of steam, but it’s good to know when to draw the line. Let your co-worker know that you’d like to talk, but you have a lot on your plate at the moment, and ask, “When would be a good time to catch up?” This way your co-worker will not feel snubbed, and you can kill two birds with one stone; you have maintained a good working relationship with a peer, and also managed to keep your focus.

Adams also notes that music is a fantastic way to let time pass quickly, and can actually help some people focus. However, some employers feel it can cause employees’ work quality to suffer. This, of course, should be left up to an agreement between the employer and the employees, but it’s important to keep in mind that one person’s tool for focus is another’s perceived distraction.

However you find ways to cut out distractions to help you focus, most can agree on one thing; it takes much longer to finish a project if you are being pulled in multiple directions. So, take a leaf out of Adams’ book, and disconnect from what you can, while keeping your eye on the prize.