Distractions are a part of life -- welcome or unwelcome---can be constant. I'm going to share with you the top 5 distractions and how I deal with them to keep myself on track during work hours.
Notifications from Cell PhoneThis is probably the top distraction for me. I have social media apps, game apps, not to mention I accept texts, photos, Facebook messenger and calls to come in during my work day. You probably set up different tones for your various notifications, and know from just the "ding" from which app a notification is coming. I do believe these "dings" are helpful if work related, but they take your mind off track even for just a millisecond! You may struggle to remember what you were thinking or working on just prior to that "ding" -- what may have been a brilliant thought, has been removed forever because of that silly "ding!" And do not get me started on group texts or group messages....when I learned I could "mute the conversation" it was a wonderful day! Best practices for these notifications? You can power off your phone until lunch or after work. Or if that is not an option, silence your notifications during work hours--yes, this includes turning off your ringtone during work hours. One of my other favorite features is the message feature - when someone is calling in, I can send them an immediate message letting them know I cannot answer the phone. This should alleviate the majority of the callbacks, unless the caller is your Mom. Then, you best just take the call.
I am totally guilty of this one. I work from home several days during the week, so when I am in the office, I like to visit and catch up with my co-workers from time to time. I become their distraction. To combat, make a conscious decision to not visit as long, particularly when it is not work-related. It's okay to visit, just do not distract your coworkers beyond 5 minutes. When you want to visit, plan some time together after office hours, then you can chat as long as you want.
Working from home and then switching to work in the office is a challenge. At home, I have control over the noises and can keep them soft (except when my dog barks). At the office, my desk is in a common area and I sometimes find myself struggling to keep hold of my focus. Common office noise: coworker's phone conversations, conversations with clients, exchanging greetings with others as they pass by, answering questions, and welcoming clients into the office. It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. I have learned, to add some soft music and I am able to complete my daily tasks with ease -- plus I do not schedule phone conferences when I am in the office. Successful offices have some level of office noise -- it's how you choose to work within the environment to complete your tasks, makes all the difference.
I remember when receiving an email was an exciting experience -- it was when it was a new thing. Fast forward a few years, and now email is like kudzu--and can be a major distraction, not to mention overwhelming if not maintained. I review my emails 3 times a day. I glance over my work emails briefly first thing each work day -- is there anything that may be pressing? If the answer is no, I start my daily tasks. If the answer is yes, I handle it, and file it, and continue on with my daily tasks. I look at my emails again around lunchtime, and then an hour before the end of my workday. When you start your day by handling your emails, you may not find time for any other daily tasks! Remember the 3 times a day recommendation--tops!
GossipThis is not necessarily the same as the Chatty Co-workers. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "gossip" is a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. When gossip finds itself to the office, it usually does not bring sunshine and flowers with it. By its very nature, it is sly and negative. If you find yourself in a conversation with a gossiper, it's best to dismiss yourself from the conversation and walk away.
Working in an office (or anyplace) can have distractions. They will be welcome or unwelcome. It comes down to how you choose to work through them that matters. Remember: Anytime you put your mind to it -- you can overcome the issues and keep on the path of success!