Did you know that, according to a study done by Basex, the average time spent being interrupted in a typical work day and getting back into a groove is 2.1 hours? This is almost 1/3 of a person’s time at work! The internet has been a blessing and a curse for the world of the employed. Employees forward fun emails between each other all the time and social networking is practiced consistently at any job with computers available. I know what you’re thinking. You are scared now. Distractions are everywhere and you have no weapon against them, correct? You don’t need to run away screaming, however, because there are some ways to counteract this siege!
The easiest way to avoid long interruptions is to just not be afraid to end them quickly. If a colleague approaches you and starts up a conversation that you really cannot have at the moment, simply tell them that you would love to hear more about it, but now is not a good time. Most physical interruptions are caused because people just feel too guilty for ending a conversation before the person can say what they want to say. I might be wrong, but I think the feeling of not getting a project done on time is worse than feeling guilty for cutting off a fellow employee’s distracting conversation. Also, if said employee is an annoying interruption to a lot of people, you might become the office hero and get to wear a cape!
Planning too much in a day is also a way to fall short of completing your tasks. Allow some leeway time so that you don’t stress out. Like the study shows, distractions are going to happen and if you don’t plan for them, it is likely that you will just get frustrated and spend more time trying to focus than getting right back to a task. Also, don’t let your lunch break put you in a food coma. Finish your task before leaving for break, or come to terms with the fact that you need to get back to work as soon as you return. Thinking about all the nice clothes you just bought or food you ate is not going to help the situation. Do that when you get home if it is so important!
Get off Farmville while you are at work you fool! You cause your own distractions just as much as outside sources. Learn to minimize the time you spend replying to emails or going on the internet while working. If possible and needed, block sites on your work computer that you feel are too tempting or turn off email notifications while performing an important task. Overcoming distractions takes personal willpower as well!
Try to keep a clear head. Remind yourself that if this task gets completed early, you will have more time in the day to do what you want. Getting something done ahead of time is a great stress relief as you no longer have to worry about it. It is also important to not interrupt others. Ask if they have the time to talk before diving into a conversation. You are not the only one that has to deal with interruptions, and realizing that you could also be a cause is one of the first steps to limiting them. A study done by Priority Management discovered that managers are interrupted from their work every 8 minutes. If you absolutely need to talk to them, make sure it is when they are capable of helping!
Distractions are part of life. You cannot completely get rid of them but you can limit them. Sometimes they are welcomed ways to get through the day, but other times you could do without them. On second thought, this article is probably a distraction. Forget everything I said. You must drop everything you are doing to read this. I don’t care how busy you are!
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