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Published on October 1, 2018

How to Stop These 15 Distractions at Work From Impacting Your Career

How to Stop These 15 Distractions at Work From Impacting Your Career

Workplace distractions can leave you feeling stressed, exhausted, and overworked. You’ve been hopeful for a raise but you know that your boss has noticed that your performance and behavior is not up to your usual standards.

Focusing used to be a lot easier but as time goes on you let “all the things” stand in the way of your successful career. You know that you need to focus, eat nutritious foods, and stop talking excessively to your co-workers. Are you ready to put the distractions to rest once and for all so that you can confidently ask for the promotion you’ve been eyeing?

Here’s the deal, you’ll always have a person at work that talks way to much, endless emails, phones ringing, and a sense of urgency for everything except for what you need to be doing.

Imagine if you have had fewer distractions and you were able to focus on your priorities. I’ve identified the major 15 distractions but even better we will talk about about how you can fix these issues so that your productivity will skyrocket.

1. Frequently checking emails

Emails are widely used and a mainstream way of communication in the workplace. They are also constantly being sent at random times throughout the day. Your initial to do list will be derailed time and time again when you constantly check your email.

Do this:

Set a time to check your work emails or you’ll always be at the mercy of someone’s else’s sense of urgency.

Some jobs’ daily work flow comes directly via email and that is fine but for the rest of us, checking your email 3 times a day should be plenty.

Check emails about 2 hours after you’ve arrived to work, after lunch, and about 1 hour before you leave for the day.

These time frames will give you time to tackle any new tasks that have come in through your email. It will also put an end to constantly refreshing your inbox.

2. Instant message apps such as Slack

The sense of urgency increases tenfold with apps like Slack if you are not careful.

Let’s be clear, the need for quick efficient communication is ever present. This app has great advantages when used effectively. However, if it holds your time hostage with ongoing discussions, then limitations need to set in place.

Do this:

Set boundaries around the use of Slack. Make sure your office knows that you have a time to be offline and shouldn’t be expected to respond in Slack during that time.

3. Phone calls

Constantly answering phone calls puts a drag on productivity. They ring to no end and it will never stop unless boundaries are created.

Do this instead:

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Once you have answered a phone call at work, take a message and clearly communicate with the other person that you will make note of the request now but respond back to them at a designated time.

The second thing that can be implemented is to set a voicemail for times that you are away from your desk answering the most commonly asked questions and directing all non urgent communication from coworkers to email communication that will be checked at a designated time. This will only work for in house calls.

Over time, you will train your co workers to email you instead of constantly ringing your work phone.

4. Helping coworkers

There is no “I” in team but at some point we have to get our own work done!

There are times when we must rally to the cause to get everything done on big projects. Then there are times when you know that your coworker essentially plans to put as much work on your virtual plate as you will allow them to place on there.

Do this:

Be consistent with communicating that you need to complete your work first. Once your work is done you will be glad to help.

5. Talking to your co workers

A chatty Kathy (or Charles) can be found in every establishment of moderate size, what befuddles me is when they refuse to know that their relentless chatter is decreasing your productivity.

Maybe the very brief hall or cubicle talk makes your day, but incessant chatter undoubtedly decreases your productivity.

Do this:

If you have an office door, close it. If not, when your co worker attempts to chat, ask them if it can wait until you get done with your work.

Sometimes they still won’t get it! In that case, return to your work, and tell them that you really want to start putting a better effort into staying on task and ask them if they can hold you accountable.

6. Messy work area

A neatly organized work area can save you a ton of time. According to Reliable Plant,[1] studies have shown that the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking.

Do this:

Take the time to label folders or bins to optimize your day to day tasks. Labels such as “to do,” “follow up later,” will be beneficial in increasing your productivity.

File papers away in their respective places as soon as you are done with them.

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7. Lack of prioritization

Lack of priorities is a productivity killer. If you don’t know where to start, how can you ever start producing results? Develop a game plan for being productive as soon as you enter work.

Do this:

Plan your work day out the day prior to increase productivity.

Create a mini to-do list that includes the tasks that you’ll work on as soon as you arrive at work.

Clean your desk off prior to leaving and be prepared to jump in as soon as you return to work.

8. Procrastination

Procrastination is a case of putting things off until the last minute in favor of doing absolutely nothing or some other task that is not getting you closer to completing your goals.

Do this:

Celestine points out the importance of breaking your action steps down into doable goals and then taking action.

Lifehack’s CEO also has great advice on this:

What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

9. Meetings

Meetings are essential but are notorious for being a waste of time.

Do this:

Create clear goals and have agenda for the meeting. Start the meeting on time and end it on time. Stick to the topics of the meeting in order to get the most value out of the time spent.

Also check out these 12 Secrets To a Super Productive Meeting You Should Know.

10. Office noise

Office noise can come from many sources. The number one distraction is noise from other humans.[2]

Offices can get really loud when iTunes compete for air space (at least use your earbuds people), your co-workers yell to people across the room, talk to themselves, chew gum loudly (why is this allowed), and phone conversations are taking place – seemingly all at once.

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Do this:

Closing your door, if you have one, works well in this case. If not, talking to you co worker about their habits will be best.

Start by scheduling some time to talk to your co worker. Ask them if there are any behaviors that you display that are distracting to them.

Thank them for pointing out any of your behaviors. Then assert that you would like to do the same. This may seem a bit uncomfortable but share your concerns in a nice way and hopefully office noise will improve.

11. Constantly checking social media

According to Pew, the average American uses at least three social platforms.[3] While the exact percentages vary by age, 51% of Facebook users stated they visit the site several times a day. 40% of the user stated that it would be hard to give it up.

Do this:

Use your personal social platforms on your break or at lunch. You can try this 20-second rule to get rid of distractions or take these steps to disconnect from social media:

9 Steps to Disconnect from Social Media and Connect With Life Again

12. Boredom

Most Americans become bored at their job from citing issues such as mundane tasks, lack of opportunity for advancement, and loss of motivation in general.

Do this:

Choose to think new thoughts and decide to take action to increase your productivity. List three things in your life that are possible because of your job.

But most importantly, find out the real reason why you feel bored at work:

What to Do When Bored at Work (And the Reason Why You Feel Bored)

13. Multitasking

Studies have shown that multitasking on complex test decrease efficiency and productivity significantly. Our brains do not complete tasks simultaneously but rather switches tasks and the start/stop/start process is a real energy drain.

Do this:

Prioritize your tasks based on deadlines or urgency then focus on one task until it is complete so that you will become more efficient. This guide will help you stop multitasking to boost productivity:

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How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

14. Eating

Workplace celebrations are often accompanied by food. These activities include baby shower, promotions, retirement parties. The sugary processed snacks or not the most ideal sources of nutrition.

Washington post gathered data from The Centers for Disease Control which found that adults consume nearly 1300 calories per week from food and beverage that they got at work.[4] Naturally we want to be acknowledged and celebrated here and there but hanging out at the party can take time from tasks that you have been putting off.

Do this:

Congratulate the person that is being celebrated. Choose the healthiest food options (or a small amount of indulgent food), and get back to work:

25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity

15. Workplace bullying

Statistics from Workplace Bullying Institute report that bullying is present in today’s workplace and an alarming 72% of employers denied, discount, encourage, rationalize, or defend it.[5]

Bullying can be verbal and constant. Therefore it may be harder to prove without the support of coworkers that have witnessed it. This behavior is completely distracting and stressful.

Do this:

Document instances of bullying. Seek the support of a trusted coworker. Report the accounts of bullying to the proper authorities.

In most cases, this can be disclosed in human resources departments.

The bottom line

Workplace distractions will never go away. In order use our time effectively we must set up a system and boundaries to be more effective. I have given you 15 solutions to workplace distractions. Implementing as many as possible will be a game changer for you and you will be confident when you ask for your next raise.

How you you react the next time you are distracted at work?

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart is a wellness coach. She helps successful professionals and entrepreneurs to take back control of their life and work.

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Last Updated on December 7, 2018

10 Steps For Success: Applying The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind

10 Steps For Success: Applying The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind

How big is the gap between you and your success?

What is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people?

It is as simple as this: successful people think and talk about what they are creating, and unsuccessful people focus on and talk about what they’re lacking.

So how do you bridge that gap between wanting success and having your success? Let’s make an important distinction. You see, there is a big difference between “Wanting” and “Having” something.

Wanting: means lacking or absent. Deficient in some part, thing or aspect.

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Having: means to possess, to hold, to get, to receive, to experience.

You can have one OR the other, but not both at the same time with any particular object of your desire. You either have it or you don’t.

When it comes to your subconscious, if you’re focusing on the “wanting”, i.e. the not having, guess what, you will build stronger neural networks in your brain around the “wanting.” However, through the power of your subconscious mind, you can focus on the “having” as if it has already happened. Research has shown that your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you’re visualizing inside your mind versus what is happening out there in your reality.

This is a regular practice of elite athletes. They spend as much timing creating the internal mental imagery of their success playing out as they do actually physically practicing. This helps create both the neural pathways in their brain and the muscle memory to consistently deliver on that success.

Here are 10 “brain hack” steps for success that you can take to create your version of a happy life. Make these steps a regular habit, and you will be astonished at the results.

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Step 1: Decide exactly what you want to create and have

This is usually the biggest problem that people have. They don’t know what they want and then they’re surprised when they don’t get it.

Step 2: Write down your goal clearly in every technicolor detail

A goal that is not written down is merely a wish. When you write it down in full detail, you signal to your subconscious mind that you really want to accomplish this particular goal.

Step 3: Write your goal in simple, present tense words

…that a three year old can understand on a three-by-five index card and carry it with you. Read it each morning after you awake and just before you go to sleep.

Step 4: Backwards planning

See your goal achieved and identify all the steps required that it took to bring it to life. Making a list of all these steps intensifies your desire and deepens your belief that the attainment of the goal is already happening.

Step 5: Resolve to take at least one step every day from one of the items on your list

Do something every day, even if it is just one baby step, that moves you toward your goal so you can maintain your momentum.

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Step 6: Visualize your goal repeatedly

See it in your mind’s eye as though it were already a reality. The more clear and vivid your mental picture of your goal, the faster it will come into your life.

Step 7: Feel the feeling of success as if your goal were realized at this very moment

Feel the emotion of happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure that you would have once you have achieved your goal. Visualize and feel this success for at least 20 seconds at a time.

Step 8: “Fake it till you make it!”

Confidently behave as if your subconscious mind was already bringing your goal into reality. Accept that you are moving toward your goal and it is moving toward you.

Step 9: Relax your mind

Take time to breathe, pray or mediate each day. Disengage the stress response and engage the relaxation response. A quiet state of mind allows your brain to access newly formed neural pathways.

Step 10: Release your goal to your subconscious mind

When you turn your goal over to the power of the universe and just get out of the way, you will always know the right actions to take at the right time.

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Starting today, try tapping into the incredible power of your subconscious mind.Start with just one goal or idea, and practice it continually until you succeed in achieving that goal. Make it a game and have fun with it! The more lightly you hold it, the easier it will be to achieve. By doing so, you will move from the “positive thinking” of the hopeful person to the “positive knowing” of the totally successful person.

Hit reply and let me know what you’re creating!

To your success!

Featured photo credit: use-your-brain-markgraf via mrg.bz

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