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Get More Done in The Office – 4 Secrets to Avoid Distractions in the Workplace

By Admin | 8 September 2017 |

There’s an old adage that time is money. This means that distractions in the workplace can affect an employee’s productivity and end up losing valuable revenue for the company. While no employee wants to work in an office environment where there is pressure to utilise every second, some discipline and structure are necessary to get the best out of a working day. In fact, you may end up have more personal time at the end of the day and manage your life-work balance better.

According to a report published on, nearly two-thirds of employees admit to wasting time at work every day. From the employees surveyed, one-quarter said that they spend up to an hour at work on non-work related items. It was discovered that social media and online shopping were the biggest culprits that distracted employees from their job.[1]

How can you make sure that you boost your productivity by avoiding non-work related tasks interfering with your job? Here are 4 secrets to avoid distractions in the office.

1. Have a set time to check emails

According to a report published by Reuters, the average worker in the U.S. spends around 6 hours per day checking work emails and personal email. Employees admitted to checking personal email during work time and nearly 80% admitted to looking at emails before leaving for work in the morning.

The secret to not allowing emails to distract you at work is to have set times throughout the day to check your emails. So, close down email programs while you are working and turn off notifications on your smartphone and computer. Very rarely, emails are emergencies and senders don’t usually expect an instant answer.

2. Ignore social media

It comes as no surprise that many surveys reveal that social media is the nr. 1 distraction when it comes to wasting time at work. Like with using email at work, have a set time outside when you check social media and make sure it is out of your work hours. This could be during your lunch break or when you’ve clocked off at the end of the day but are still allowed to use the company’s internet resources.

3. Focus on one task at time

Trying to complete a few tasks a once will lead to distraction and frustration. Most jobs involve taking care of multiple tasks and it’s not possible to focus on more than one at a time and still be highly productive. Learn the secret of scheduling blocks of time in 30-minute, 60-minute, or 90-minute segments for your tasks. Some studies indicate that productivity is increased during uninterrupted 90-minute intervals.[2]

This can help you focus and get more done in the allotted time as you eliminate all distractions. However, because projects are broken down into manageable chunks of time, you still get everything finished when you should.

4. Be self-aware

Another secret to preventing distractions in the office eating away at your productivity is to reconise signs of wasting time. Sometimes, we may not be aware that we have started wasting time. This could be because of a difficult project, a problem to solve, or some other factor that is making it difficult to concentrate.

If you find that 15 or 20 minutes have gone by and nothing has been accomplished, take a break for 5 minutes. In fact, according to a study published in Forbes magazine, taking a short break is much more productive than grabbing a sugary, caffeine-infused drink.[2]  

When you learn the 4 secrets of avoiding distractions at work, people will learn that you need to focus. Even though you may not answer every phone call immediately or instantly respond to every email, your colleagues and co-workers will know that you will get the job done.

[1] 2013 Wasting Time at Work Survey.
[2] Give Yourself a Break.