That impending phone call. An anticipated email. Donuts in the break room. Your hilarious coworker. Facebook.
Distractions are everywhere in the office, and while periodic breaks can be beneficial, sometimes you just need to focus. Whether you have a deadline or crave that feeling that comes along with productivity, you want to demonstrate your ability to execute tasks efficiently. Here are some tips to optimize your time on the clock:
1. Limit Tech Interruptions
Silence your phone. Don’t log in to Facebook. Turn off your Twitter alerts. One click can lead to another, and soon you’re spiraling into the endless void of the internet. If your position requires use of social media or frequent texts, try turning off audio alerts and set aside a specific time to look into these and avoid logging in on personal accounts.
2. Make a Handwritten To Do List
Having all your tasks spread out before you can not only help you plan out your day, but also give you a mental boost. You may keep a digital list, but physically writing out tasks increases cognitive engagement. Plus, you get the opportunity to give your eyes a rest from screens. Bonus points for the feeling you get when crossing something off.
If there’s something with a strict deadline or needs to be performed at a certain time, pair it with a pop up reminder on your computer or phone.
3. Block Off Time for Email
The average person spends 13 hours a week reading, deleting, sorting, and sending emails. That comes out to about 28% of your workweek! Email is an important business tool, but it’s important to utilize it properly. Checking email every 5 or even twenty minutes can add up and take away time from bigger tasks. Try only checking at the top of every hour. If you just can’t resist, you can block websites like gmail during specific times of the day.
4. Consider your Health
Not enough sleep or even slight dehydration can erode your ability to focus. Add in straining your eyes to focus on a computer screen, and you could lose plenty of valuable time. Sleep 7-9 hours a night, keep a water bottle at your desk, and try the 20-20-20 exercise: every twenty minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds, giving your eye muscles the opportunity to relax and you to return to fresh to the task at hand.
Also consider your mental health, personal issues can definitely serve as a distraction. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or particularly stressed out, reach out for assistance or insight on projects so they can still be accomplished in a timely manner.
5. Flee Temptation
No one knows you better than you. You know how much you enjoy kitten videos and weekend stories, so monitor yourself. You are allowed to say, “Sorry, I’m working on something right now that I need to finish. But let’s meet up at lunch and we can talk then!” or find a quiet or secluded place for phone calls or demanding projects. If you enjoy dawdling in the morning or checking for the hottest gossip, get to work early and accomplish these before you clock in. Self-regulation is key.
You deserve to flaunt your talents and feel accomplished, don’t let little workplace distractions rob you of that.