23 Aug 2018

Ever wondered why sometimes you can’t concentrate at work? It happens to most of us at some point in our working lives. According to a UC Irvine Study reported in The NY Times, the average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes throughout the day and it takes a massive 25 minutes to regain focus afterwards.

In the spirit of the incredibly popular book ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ by Steven Covey, the below 7 suggestions will help to reduce the amount of workplace related distractions and aim to improve the efficiency of your day. As Alexander Graham Bell once said “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

Noise 

This has to be one of the most common ways for us to become distracted whilst attempting to complete tasks at the office. The most obvious solution to this one is headphones. If you’re in a work environment that allows for you to be out of ears reach, then grab a pair and listen to your favourite music. This not only signals to your colleagues that you are busy but has also been proven to increase focus and productivity by bringing you into the ‘moment’. Just remember this hack works best with lyric free music.

No meeting Wednesdays

This was something that started at Facebook and was taken by Dustin Moskovitz who is now the CEO at Asana. It is a day where everyone is encouraged to keep their calendars completely free which allows for invaluable time, ensuring you have some contiguous space to do work.

Start with the least desirable task first

Do least desirable tasks first thing in the morning. Try to work 2-3 hours straight on getting stuff done first thing in thing in the morning, before email or anything else.

The two-minute rule

David Allen, a successful productivity consultant, suggests using this for certain tasks: if it can be done in two minutes or less then knock it out immediately. This increases productivity, can be used anywhere and needs no fancy app or software.

Don’t waste desk time

While at your desk make sure you use it wisely. Check emails on the go, turn your phone on silent mode and use do-it-later services like Pocket to reduce time wasted in visiting distracting but interesting websites.

Suppress notifications

Focus Assist in Windows 10 and Do Not Disturb in Android are great features that allow you to suppress the push notifications you’d normally get from apps, allowing you to focus and get work done.

Listen to your Ultradian rhythms

An Ultradian rhythm is a biological rhythm that occurs about every 90-120 minutes which are signaling for us to rest. This might sound like hokey pokey to some but by listening to these rhythms, we may be able to ward off fatigue, stress and illness; ultimately making us more productive in the office.

 

By making a conscious effort to reduce the distractions in your life and maximising interruption free opportunities, you will hopefully see a big difference to your overall output.

 

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