reports that it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus after just one interruption at work. And in the technology-age of social media and the open-plan office being trendy, interruptions and distractions are a-plenty in the office; that’s a lot of 23 minutes.

Sometimes, your mind can wonder or you might accidentally find yourself scrolling through Facebook when you should be drafting that important email to a client; it happens. Here are some things to filter into your workday to ditch the distractions and get work done.

Be realistic

If you’re constantly checking your emails every time one rolls in – every 10 minutes, hello Mr Popular – then you’re likely to forget what you were doing before you switched tabs on your internet browser, therefore wasting time and not being productive. Constantly switching tasks and trying to keep check of everything, all at the same time, isn’t realistic.

Set yourself two or three chunks of time during the day dedicated to checking your emails, maybe once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon, with a quick check during your lunch break if you’re expecting something important. Having a little note included in your signature, letting people know when you’ll likely be able to respond is a great idea to set people’s expectations and stay organised your completing tasks without interruptions.

The same goes for phone calls, if you’re in the middle of a document and you’re on a roll, or about to walk into a meeting, decline that phone-call without any guilt. You can’t be available to everyone all the time; set your priorities and stick to them. Take note of course, and return the call at a convenient time, without too much of a delay.

Keep your phone faced-down or better, away

It seems simple, but so many can’t be without their phone. I know if my phone isn’t in my reach, I feel uneasy and like I’m missing out. When working on a task, perhaps on your laptop or writing up notes with the good old-fashioned pen and paper approach, keep your phone faced down if you can’t bear to have it completely away.

Go through your notifications center on your mobile too; you’re likely to have apps that you don’t use that often but tend to buzz a notification or two every day, reminding you to Check Out This Deal! or Try Out The New App Upgrade!

These obviously aren’t worth you checking your phone and interrupting your work, so turning the notifications off for unimportant apps or games, or putting your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode can minimise temptation to check your phone.

On an internet browser, don’t bookmark distracting sites like Facebook or Twitter (unless they’re a fundamental part of your work). If even that doesn’t keep you away from distracting sites, block them on your work computer or browser account completely.

Zone out

Open-plan work spaces are very much present in modern office spaces, and that means little privacy and increased difficulty in showing others you’re unavailable for a chat. Cubicle walls or partitions made from plants can only give you so much privacy, so tell others when you don’t want to be interrupted.

If you’re blessed with a rather chatty neighbour, get yourself some good noise-cancelling headphones if you find yourself socialising more than working, to really zone out and tell people you’re wanting for focus for a bit. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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