Friday, May 3, 2013

Too Distracted to Read This? Think Again.

The workplace is full of distractions: phones ringing, constant email and text alerts, and loud and talkative co-workers. Distractions abound and our attention is constantly shifting, making it hard to focus on the work at hand. It’s not always possible to eliminate distractions; however, you can take steps to significantly minimize them. Read on to discover tips that might work for you.

Turn Off Alerts
If you work at your computer or with a smartphone, alerts for email, instant messages, and texts can frequently sidetrack you from work tasks. Consider temporarily turning off alerts, especially when working on a task that requires your full concentration, like problem solving or creative thinking.

Process Messages during Scheduled Times
Schedule blocks of time for reading and responding to work emails or instant messages. If your job involves time-sensitive information, you may need to schedule message reviews several times throughout the day, but the structure will keep you more efficient.

Set Daily Work Goals and Tasks
Plan the goals you need to accomplish each work day and outline the associated tasks. You may not complete all your goals and tasks each day, causing some to shift to the next day, but a plan will help you stay on task and eliminate distraction.

Stay Organized
A cluttered workspace can be distracting and result in disorganization. Keep a tidy workspace, limited primarily to those supplies and tools you need to do your job. Organize your file system, including your electronic files. You’ll notice you can focus more on your work and be more productive along the way.

Speak to Disruptive Coworker(s)
As difficult as it may be to confront a co-worker who is disruptive, it will pay off in the long run. Be professional and respectful in your approach and simply explain what is causing the regular distractions. For example, is the co-worker too loud or does he/she want to chat too often? Chances are they aren’t aware of their actions but would be willing to make an effort to change.

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