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Are Constant Disruptions Keeping You From the Important Stuff?

Updated: May 17, 2021

Whether you’re interrupted by employees, upper management, a child, or a phone app, it seems impossible to get your important work done each day. It's even more difficult when working from home.

Dr. Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine has found that it takes an average of 23 minutes for a person to fully regain their focus on a task after being distracted.

Here are four strategies that will help you and your employees stay focused while still having an “open door” for your team members:

1. Culture - Have a healthy conversation in your workplace about these issues and come to agreement on things you can do as a team. Make it part of your culture that fits your organization. Consider creating a short-term task force to tackle this issue.

2. Signal - Create a signal when you need uninterrupted time. Put "focusing on a project" on your calendar. Send out a Slack message that you need to focus for an hour. If you're working at the office, go to a huddle room, or put on headphones.

3. Email - Turn off the computer alert that lets you know when an email comes in. Schedule time throughout the day to check emails. Choose low productivity times to work your emails. Turn your emails into action or delete them. If you’re afraid to delete them, set up a folder for “If I Ever Need This Information.”

4. Phone - Consider no-phone meetings. Physically place your phone in a bag or in a place where you're not tempted to look at it. Turn off notifications during your work time or use technology to help you out. Consider Forest, a free app that starts killing a virtual tree every time you pick up your phone.

Regardless of your tools and ideas to help eliminate distractions, don’t forget to come to agreement with your team so you’re all in it together. This is a big issue for companies in the U.S., costing companies a staggering $997 billion (with a B) a year!

If you have a few more minutes in your day, check out this podcast, Becoming Indistractable from How to Be Awesome at Your Job. I enjoyed hearing from Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

More good information came from this article MindTools article, Minimizing Distractions

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