7 Work Distractions You Never Knew Were Sabotaging Your Productivity

March 21, 2023

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In today’s fast-paced work environment, distractions are all too common. From social media to noisy environments, there are countless factors that can make it difficult to stay focused and on task, compromising workplace productivity. As these distractions cannot be eradicated completely, it is important that we find ways to minimise the influence that they have on our productivity and work performance. Here are the top 7 work distractions and tips on how to overcome them.

1. Social Media

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to focus on a project or task, but you can’t seem to resist the allure of social media. Maybe you just want to take a quick break and check your Facebook feed or scroll through Instagram. But before you know it, hours have passed, and you haven’t accomplished anything.

The World of Work Report by TeamLease reveals that the average employee spends 2.35 hours per day accessing social media while at work. That’s a lot of time wasted on distractions that have nothing to do with work! This indulgence alone has resulted in a loss of 13% of total productivity. 

However, getting off these social media platforms is easier said than done. These platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are designed to be addictive, drawing people in with visual tricks, validation, gamification–anything that drives the surge of dopamine needed to keep us going back over and over again. As a result, it is easy to get sucked into constantly checking our notifications or scrolling through our newsfeed.

To avoid the temptation of going on social media when working, you can use website blockers or productivity apps that limit your access to social media sites during work hours. Another option is to simply turn off notifications or log out of your social media accounts while you’re working. By eliminating the constant stream of distractions, you’ll be able to focus more on your work and increase your productivity.

2. Internet Browsing

The internet is a vast source of information, but it can also be a major source of distraction. We might need to surf the web for work-related reasons, yet soon find ourselves getting sidetracked by interesting articles, social media posts, or even online shopping. Clicking on link after link, you might just find yourself completely unmotivated to go back to work. 

So how can you avoid falling into the internet browsing trap? Try to limit your browsing to work-related tasks or take scheduled breaks for non-work-related browsing. You can also use website blockers or productivity apps to limit your access to non-work-related sites during work hours.

3. Emails

In today’s fast-paced work environment, staying on top of emails is essential, but it can also be a major distraction. With the constant influx of emails, it’s easy to fall into a never-ending cycle of notifications, responses, and follow-up messages. This can seriously harm your productivity and disrupt your workflow.

One of the biggest issues with email is that it’s always present, always accessible, and always demanding your attention. As soon as you hear that “ping” of a new message, you’re tempted to drop whatever you’re doing and respond. This can be a major problem, especially if you’re working on an important task or trying to meet a deadline.

To combat these issues, it’s important to set boundaries and establish a routine for checking and responding to emails. This might mean setting aside specific times during the day to read and respond to messages, or using an email management tool to filter out non-essential messages. You might also consider setting up an autoresponder to let people know when you’ll be available to respond to their messages.

4. Chatty Coworkers

Maintaining positive relationships with coworkers is an essential part of a healthy and productive work environment. However, socialising with coworkers can also be a double-edged sword, as it can easily turn into a major distraction from work responsibilities.

When socialising with coworkers, it’s important to be mindful of the time you spend chatting and engaging in non-work-related activities. While a quick chat in the break room or during lunch can be a great way to build relationships, spending excessive time on it can interfere with your ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.

If you find that the chatters in the office distract you from your work, there are a few strategies you can use to minimise these distractions. One effective approach is to use noise-cancelling headphones, which can block out ambient noise and help you stay focused on your work. You might also consider finding a quieter workspace or requesting a private office or cubicle, if available. If you are searching for private offices, check out Deskimo, which offers on demand, pay-as-you-go private offices that guarantees a quiet and conducive workspace for productive work. Get in contact with us to get the best locations for the cheapest prices. 

Another important consideration when it comes to socialising with coworkers is setting boundaries. It’s important to be polite and friendly with coworkers, but also assertive about your need to focus on work-related tasks. If a coworker is interrupting you or trying to engage in non-work-related conversation during a critical work period, it’s okay to politely let them know that you need to focus on your work and will catch up with them later.

5. Multitasking

Many a time, we might try to do multiple things at once, thinking that this would allow us to finish more things within the same period of time. Or we just get distracted by other tasks in between. However, this usually backfires. Studies have shown that when you switch your attention from one task to another, part of your mind is still focused on the previous task. When you switch between tasks, you have to keep reminding yourself about what it was you were doing, while dealing simultaneously with the slight distraction from the other task. This can increase your cognitive load. When there is insufficient cognitive resource to go around, your performance will suffer. Be it having a slower turnaround or making more mistakes, your work quality will definitely be compromised. 

If you find yourself getting distracted by multiple tasks or projects, try using a task management system or creating a to-do list to help you stay organised and focused.

6. Noisy Environment

Having a quiet and distraction-free workspace is crucial for concentration and productivity. Loud or distracting noises can cause stress, reduce focus, and interfere with cognitive processing. In a noisy environment, the brain is constantly processing incoming sounds, which can drain cognitive resources and make it challenging to focus on the task at hand.

If you work from home and your home environment is noisy or distracting, you can visit Deskimo’s co-working spaces, which are located all over Singapore, making it highly convenient and accessible for users. 

7. Hunger or Thirst

Being hungry or thirsty can be a major distraction during work hours. It’s important to take scheduled breaks for meals and keep healthy snacks and water at your desk to ensure that you stay nourished and hydrated throughout the day.

Many of the coworking spaces provide free water, coffee, and tea, which can help you stay hydrated and focused throughout the day. Some of these spaces even offer free snacks, such as biscuits, which can help keep hunger at bay.

In addition to these distractions, there are other factors that can compromise workplace productivity such as stress and burnout. Employees who experience high levels of stress may find it challenging to concentrate, focus, and complete their tasks efficiently. The constant pressure and anxiety can also lead to decreased motivation and engagement in their work. Over time, the stress not only reduces productivity but it can also result in a range of physical and mental health problems.

To combat this, it’s important to take breaks and prioritise your wellbeing. This might mean taking a short break from work, going on a walk outside, practising mindfulness or meditation, or simply taking a few deep breaths to centre yourself.

In our fast-paced, distraction-filled society, we can easily get sidetracked by the multitude of things around us. However, by being mindful of these distractions and taking steps to minimise them, you can work towards increasing your focus, motivation, and productivity at work. Remember to also prioritise self-care and to take breaks as needed to stay refreshed and energised throughout the day.

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