The Distraction-Free Workplace
A study by the University of California found that the average office worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes and five seconds – this adds up to about 2 hours and 50 minutes of interrupted work time per day! When you’re trying to get something done, those interruptions can be extremely frustrating. Luckily, there are things you can do to create a workspace that’s free of distractions – everything from removing digital distractions to even considerations regarding workplace fitouts, design and refurbishments.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
1. Establish ground rules with your team
Set some expectations with your team regarding interruptions and distractions. Do you need absolute quiet when you’re working on something? Let them know. Will headphones suffice? Agree upon a signal – like a raised hand – that indicates “do not disturb”.
2. Get rid of physical distractions
Clutter can be a major source of distraction, so take some time to clear off your desk. Put away any personal items that don’t pertain to work, like family photos or trinkets from your last vacation. And if possible, position your desk so that you’re not facing a wall or window – a view of nature has been shown to boost productivity.
3. Minimise digital distractions
We often think of email and social media as Black Holes – once we start scrolling, it’s hard to stop. So set some strict limits for yourself when it comes to checking email and scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. If possible, turn off notifications for non-essential apps; if not, at least silence your phone while you’re trying to focus on something else.
4. Take regular breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help you focus better when you’re trying to get something done. Stand up and stretch your legs for a few minutes every hour; go for a quick walk around the block during your lunch break; and make sure to leave the office at a reasonable time so you don’t end up working into the night.
5. Find an appropriate setting
Not everyone works well in an open office setting; if ping-pong tables and communal kitchens aren’t your thing, it might be worth looking into alternatives like coworking spaces or rented offices. There are also noise-cancelling headphones, which can be helpful if your office is particularly loud or if you work from home and need to tune out distractions like lawnmowers or crying babies.
Ready to get started?
By following these steps, you can create a workspace that’s free of distractions and better suited for getting things done efficiently and effectively. Establishing ground rules with your team, minimising digital distractions, and taking regular breaks can help mitigate unnecessary interruptions and maximise your productivity. And if traditional office settings aren’t for you, there are plenty of other options available – it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you!
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