Avoiding Distractions.

A major problem at work is getting distracted.

Posted by George Kingsnorth on 3rd March 2017

A major problem at work is getting distracted. Often our offices are open plan, with people coming in and out. The phone rings or notifications come of new e-mails. Our lives seem so cluttered. Quite often, at the days end we haven't achieved our intentions.

So how to solve this problem? Start with setting your goals and keep them in mind. To focus on the goals you need to reduce the chaos around you by removing the distractions. Limit the number of tasks to 2 or 3. Any more will be hard to finish. Once the tasks are identified get them done quickly. Break each task down into smaller parts, focussing on one bit at a time. This way you won't get overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Visualise the work so you can see the job being done.

Think about the environment you work in and how you can cut down distractions. If there is a radio on or television, switch it off. Also turn off your mobile, if it is important the person will ring again or leave a message. Your present time requires you to finish the task at hand. Don't try to multi-task. If you do you are effectively halving your attention on each activity and neither job will be done well. Remember, computers don't actually multitask. A single CPU does one task at a time, then interrupts this to do another task. It just does is so fast it appears to multitask (Ram, 2007).

If you have to use the Internet be specific about the information you are looking for and refrain from browsing so you do not go off at a tangent. You should also take regular breaks to exercise. When in front of your computer it is recommended to break for 5 minutes after every 50 minutes (NIDirect, 2017).

So to stop distractions, remove the chaos around you, set a small number of tasks and keep your goals in focus, visualised what you have to do, do not multitask, be specific with Internet searches, do not browse, take breaks from you computer and exercise to help reduce stress.

If this is not possible, maybe it is time to make a bigger change and look for a new job?


Mires, E.A. (n/a) 10 Critical Tips to Prevent Distraction and Sharpen Your Focus, Lifehacks, Available from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-critical-tips-prevent-distraction-and-sharpen-your-focus.html (Accessed on 2017-02-14)

NIDirect (2017) Safe computer use, Available from: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/safe-computer-use (Accessed on 2017-02-14)

Ram, B. (2007) Computer Fundamentals, Architecture and Organization, 4th Ed. New Age International Publishers: New Delhi

Rock, D. (2009) Easily distracted: why it is hard to focus, and what to do about it, Psychology Today, Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/200910/easily-distracted-why-its-hard-focus-and-what-do-about-it (Accessed on 2017-02-14)

Schwecher, L. (2012) 13 Ways to Beat Distractions and Stay Focused at Work, Time Inc, Available from http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/23/13-ways-to-beat-distractions-and-stay-focused-at-work/ (Accessed on 2017-02-14)