30th April 2018

How can you defeat distractions?

Distractions and interruptions are an inevitable part of your working day. Humans are designed to be easily distractible, yet we expect ourselves to do work that requires complete focus. Your attention is drawn away from a task when the phone rings, or when your colleague offers a cup of tea, or when your manager asks a question. Interruptions like these might be small, but they disturb your train of thought, and have a big impact on your personal effectiveness. Let’s talk about three steps you can take to minimise distractions and get the job done.

1. Take control

Your biggest distractions at work will happen on-screen. Do you sometimes feel like your inbox is spiralling out of control? Do you have too many things to focus on at once? If you have a deadline approaching, you can minimise disruptions from technology. If your phone buzzes every five minutes, activate "do not disturb" mode. Or if email alerts flash onto your screen, turn off the reminders until the task is done. If you start to feel overwhelmed by incoming emails, and if this is suitable for your job role, use an “out of office” message to tell contacts you’ll be checking your messages from 3pm. Setting aside time at the end of the day will help you focus. Remember, email and social media platforms are designed to keep us as active users, but they don’t help us to concentrate. Change your notification settings so you stay in control.

2. Managing colleagues

It’s a little harder to prevent colleagues from distracting you. But there are ways you can minimise certain problems which might arise. If a colleague asks you a question, it’s not rude to finish what you were writing, saying, or doing before they interrupted. Complete your sentence and mark the place where you ended, so when you return you haven’t forgotten. Having to re-do work because you accidentally skimmed over something is a real pain - and it’s something you can avoid.

3. Allow for some distraction

Some distractions are beneficial for your overall daily productivity. Taking regular breaks will allow your brain to become occupied with unconscious thought. If you allow it to rest you’ll feel refreshed, and when you return to a task you can then better emotionally engage. It’s important to schedule time in the day to allow your thoughts to wander. Now it’s Spring time, why not step away from your screen and go for a walk outside? You’ll minimise that feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed or fatigued, and your attention to detail will improve.

Go back to your work and implement these three steps. Turn off screen distractions, work around interrupting colleagues, and allow yourself time to refresh. It’s simple things like this that will have a big impact on your mental health at work.

 

Alice Hubbard

 

If you want to improve your personal effectiveness, our One-day Accuracy Skills open workshop is perfect for you. You’ll learn how to manage distractions, improve your concentration skills, handle information accurately, and manage causes of stress and error. If you want to get things right first time, every time, reserve your place now.

Call 01638 723590

Email us: accuracy@scottbradbury.co.uk

Explore more of our website: www.accuracyprogramme.co.uk

Are you following our YouTube channel and Twitter to receive the latest updates and useful accuracy tips?

How can you defeat distractions?

Other Recent Posts

You won't say anything, will you?

Posted: April 2, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

Ever been asked to cover for a cheating colleague or dubious workplace activity? If the television cameras hadn’t picked up the ball tampering in Steve Smith’s Australian cricket team last month maybe we wouldn’t know about it. But others in the team apparently did. Imagine being in a close-knit team, working together towards an agreed goal, and then being asked by one of your teammates to cheat for them, for the ‘good’ of the team. How would you react?


Why do I forget things?

Posted: April 2, 2018, midnight

Forgetting to do something is not surprising in our crowded, demanding day. Distractions, interruptions and an overwhelming array of things ‘to-do’, sometimes result in forgetfulness. A lot of mistakes emanate from oversights. Omission is one of the error-prevention topics we get asked about most. In this short article and accompanying video blog, we explore why we forget and how to ensure timely recall.


How can I be more productive?

Posted: March 26, 2018, 4:45 p.m.

We all wish we could be more efficient with our time, and there’s a vast array of advice out there telling us how. But which of it is genuinely useful? I’m going to target five steps you can take right away to improve your personal effectiveness; not just for work, but in all aspects of life. We can all improve our attention to detail and concentration skills.


Being a participant at Developing an Eye for Accuracy: What I Learnt

Posted: Feb. 22, 2018, 2:53 p.m.

Today I attended Scott Bradbury’s flagship programme Developing an Eye for Accuracy. The other participants were from Avnet, an information services and technology company who design, supply and deliver stock to contract manufacturers around the world. I learnt a great deal from trainer, Greg Fradd, who taught me genuinely useful techniques for transferring information in my own work. If you’d like to find out how I got on, keep reading!


Do people interrupt you when you're in the middle of something?

Posted: Feb. 1, 2018, 9:12 a.m.

We all need to be productive. We need to get things done efficiently. And often that means wanting to be left alone to focus on the task in hand. The last thing you need is repeated interruptions. The irrepressible colleague who wants to chat to you presents a tricky problem: how to stop the interruptions without causing offence?