Your project is due at the end of the day, and a blank document sits open on your computer. Business banter among your co-workers has transitioned to gossip and chatter. Your phone awakens with a new email, text message, or Facebook update every time you set it down. The sounds of printers, copiers, phone calls, conversations, and cars outside flood your ears and drown your focus. There’s no way you’ll get this task done.

Unfortunately, this scenario is far too familiar for many people every day. Workplace distractions can make productivity pull to a screeching halt, limit creativity, and cause unnecessary stress that affects the rest of your daily life. Staying focused on the task at hand is more difficult than it seems. However, the benefits that come from prioritizing and getting things done on time make it a desirable skill to have. Here are some tips that can help you stay in your zone and eliminate distractions in your workplace.

Do-Not-Disturb Mode

Ask anyone with an office job what their biggest distraction is, and odds are they’ll say it’s their phone. The buzzing and flashing screen of notifications bring us out of our focus, and make us mix our business and personal lives. In a perfect world, our phones would be kept hidden away while we work, but this is real life and there are plenty of reasons why we need to keep our personal devices nearby. Therefore, to mitigate distractions while our phones are within reach, Do-Not-Disturb is a perfect option. Activating Do-Not-Disturb prevents any notifications from distracting you when productivity is a priority: calls don’t appear, texts are temporarily blocked, and notifications for all apps won’t be received. If you’re worried about the communication black-out affecting your ability to respond to emergencies, you can rest easy! You have the ability to allow notifications from certain contacts, or from people who call multiple times in a row. This option is available on both IOS and Android operating systems.

Eliminating Background Noise

Noisy distractions like chatter from employees, office machines, movement, or other surrounding noises can have a huge negative impact on your productivity. Depending on your workplace’s policy on music, headphones are always a great option for tuning out and preventing outside noise from sidetracking your train of thought. However, shy away from loud music with too many lyrics or from your favourite songs. This may have you focusing more on the music than your work, adding to your list of distractions and producing the opposite effect of what was intended. Listening to jazz, classical, or any other passive music can block out external noise without being a distraction itself. Additionally, ear plugs are another great alternative for reducing the noise around you if music isn’t allowed.

Reducing Clutter

A neat, clean workspace is another key to staying focused and eliminating distractions. This could simply mean cleaning your desk, getting rid of unnecessary papers, and neatly organizing the essentials for your current project. You’d be surprised how much this can affect your workplace efficiency. With nothing sticking out like a sore thumb in front of you, it is much easier to stay focused on the task at hand. De-cluttering is also important on the digital side of things. Multiple open tabs, a busy desktop, or a distracting background screen can cause you to stray from your intended action. Delete shortcuts for social media and anything that isn’t work-related. Close any internet tabs that you don’t need currently, replace that background image of your dream vacation destination with something simple that won’t make your mind wander. If you dedicate five minutes to clean up and return order to your workspace each day, it could save you much more time when you need to concentrate.

With so many distractions in the modern-day office place reducing our output and efficiency, it’s difficult to find a way to overcome them all. Most importantly, we should try our best not to become a distraction for others, and to communicate with our co-workers to try to minimize the issues we encounter. Reducing the noise we make, the unnecessary notifications we send, and clutter we cause for others in the workplace makes productivity much easier for everyone. This, combined with the tips listed above and a solid work ethic will help you to go above and beyond your productivity goals, and impress your employer or clients.

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