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Distractions at work - Business

We live in a world full of distractions and we have been incredibly good at not letting this disturb us whilst we are hard at work, because we are professional – right?

Well, I don’t think that original statement is entirely true…with so much to divert our eye every day we can waste so much time not actually getting anything done.

Below are a few examples of how we are drawn away from our screens and how to tackle the time-wasting.

The smartphone seduction

When you are incredibly popular, it is hard to keep people waiting – I get it, especially when your device is difficult to say ‘no’ to. When the light appears or you hear the ‘beep’ we are drawn to being in contact with the clever piece of technology. Whether we are endlessly scrolling through Instagram, finding funny memes on Facebook or picking it up for the sake of unlocking it to not really do anything at all. This is when you know you need space - and your phone will understand. Distance is healthy, so it might be worth turning off all notifications, so your eyes are focused on your work. However, if you feel you are still distracted by its presence a stronger intervention needs to be put in place. ‘It’s not you, it’s me’; perhaps storing it somewhere safe. Schedule times when it is appropriate to be reunited. For example at lunchtime - the perfect dinner date! 

The ridiculous rituals

So we all have those little rituals in our mind. Like we have a meeting in 15 minutes, therefore there is no point getting immersed in a piece of work when I am leaving the desk soon – sound familiar? Therefore, you end up browsing through tabs or opening your social media to discover nothing has really changed from the ten minutes ago that you scrolled through it on your phone. Change your mindset and begin a task. It is fine to start something and then come back to it. When you do return, you will probably be thankful you aren’t starting from scratch.

The delightful distractions  

Interacting with your colleagues is great. Having a good relationship makes work easier and it is always nice to break away from the screen for a little office ‘banter’. But the talkative Tim’s and the nattering Nina’s aren’t always the best ingredient in your workload mix. It is very easy to get drawn into the latest gossip or a hot topic of conversation. However, if a deadline is looming and work needs to be done then you have to break away, rather than having a conversation for the sake of being polite. A subtle way could be plugging in your headphones, even if no music is playing.


Surely they are important? Yes, but sometimes do you feel you are in a meeting for the sake of having a meeting? Does this need to be something that takes an hour? Can this be a phone call? Or just an email? Meetings aren’t always the best route to go down, but more importantly they are time-consuming. Really evaluate the purpose and what will be gained from the discussion. This doesn’t mean cancel every meeting but really look at why you are going - before you do. We have all been to a meeting where we feel we have wasted not only an hour of our life but an hour we could have dedicated to a piece of work.

I feel that we will forever be distracted by something during the day or the week but being aware of what is distracting you, and ways to reduce it, is surely a good thing. Right?

So, I suggest you stop reading this and get back to work!


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