The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Image by David B. Gleason
Set Daily Goals
Deadlines may be the bane of your working life, but you’ll find them easier to achieve if you can avoid getting side-tracked. Prioritising work is an acquired skill, but writing down your daily goals can help you remain focused and achieve your objectives. So if you need to get that report to your boss by the end of the day, or your editor wants that article finished by lunchtime, take time at the beginning of the day to write a “to-do” list and then get to work.
Disable The Internet
Ok, you’re busy working away on that article and then it hits you. Writer’s block. So you do what anyone would do – indulge in a little online browsing while you seek inspiration. After all, five minutes won’t do any harm will it? And then you’ll be straight back on it – refreshed, revitalised and full of inspiration.
Yeah, right, before you know it you’ve ordered a whole new wardrobe of clothes, commented on the Facebook statuses of 300 of your closest friends, and are fully up to date on the latest “dramas” in the life of some self-appointed celeb who’s only famous for being famous. #FIRED.
So, if you really want to be productive, disable the internet while you’re working, or set yourself a deadline of an hour’s work rewarded by five minutes online. And set an alarm!!!
Working in a communal environment can be noisy and VERY distracting. While there may be occasions that mean you have to communicate with your co-workers, there are times when you really need to knuckle down to some good old solitary graft.
Although it may be really interesting to have a running commentary on the lives and loves of your colleagues, frankly, it’s not going to help you meet those deadlines. Listening to your own music (at a volume that’s not distracting) can drown out such fascinating gossip, allowing you to concentrate. Headphones will also send out the signal that you don’t wish to be disturbed – you don’t even have to be listening to any music – just block out the inane chatter and send out the message you’re working.
Create Your Own Workstation
While the open plan office is great for spontaneous meetings and sharing off the cuff ideas, maintaining focus can be difficult. However much you try and concentrate, you may find the proximity of neighbouring desks too much to bear. Office partitions can provide a versatile solution, by reducing noise levels and providing a more focused environment. Whether you wish to simply separate neighbouring desks, or whole departments, dividers can be an effective way of utilising existing office space.
Organise Your Desk
While a cluttered mind may not be a problem, a cluttered desk may mean that the important things get lost. However, an empty desk isn’t necessarily the answer, especially if you have several projects on the go, or need reference materials.
Tidy up your workspace by using trays to store your important paperwork, keeping piles separate and in order of priority. Be ruthless though, if you don’t need it, bin it; it’s not always necessary to keep a paper copy of a document you have stored electronically in several locations.
Do you have any tips for avoiding workplace distractions? Let us know by leaving your comments below.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Roz McGann is a freelance writer and ex-office worker whose online shopping habits in no way distract her from meeting those all-important deadlines.