9am has arrived, and you’re sat at your desk with a promising and productive day ahead of you. The sun is shining, day ahead planned, the computer is on…let’s do this! However, it’s very easy for distractions around the office to put a big red marker across your day, essentially losing you time and valued work you can’t avoid to waste. Take a look at these common office interruptions that you need to avoid for a day full of success.
Lingering over decisions
It may not seem like an obvious one to avoid, but decision making can waste a lot of time. Some decisions do require a lot of thought, but many decisions are reversible so try to make a decision and action it within five minutes or less. If it requires more time or a helping hand, get someone else involved and brainstorm between the two of you…and then execute on your decision. If not, your time is wasted as the decision sits at the back of your mind and you end up procrastinating as you think about it.
A Cluttered Desk
How is your desk looking? If it’s cluttered, it could be affecting your work day to day. Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute in 2011 found that when the environment around you is cluttered, it can affect your focus. So if you’re trying to write a report, send an important email or plan a meeting and are surrounded by piles of paper, coffee mugs and jumbled files, it’s going to impact on your whole day. Spend ten minutes on a little spring-cleaning, and watch what happens to your productivity.
Always Heading to your Emails
Research released in 2012 by the McKinsey Global Institute found that over a quarter of a workers day is spent on emails. Yes, they’re important, but if they’re beginning to take over your work you need to come up with a strategy to help deal with them. A business-grade VA is one great option, and another is setting aside specific time each day to look at and respond and prioritize email. If you don’t have a set time, it’s easy to get side tracked with emails and lose the majority of your day.
Frequenting the Water Cooler
Being social is a part of life, and certainly part of your office culture…but when does it become too much, and impede on your day to day work? Heading to the water cooler or kettle for a brew may seem harmless, but if it’s known as a social place in your company, it’s easy to end up in lengthy conversations more than once a day, leaving your day in tatters when 5pm arrives. The same can be said about what is shared at the water cooler; disclosing the daily ins and outs of our lives has become the ‘in-thing’ via Facebook and Twitter with daily interactions documented, selfies shared and half eaten bagels displayed for your nearest and dearest to see. This is nice (most of the time) to your close and personal family and friends on social media, but think of the office water cooler as the ‘live’ version of social media. If you share too much information at work in between chats with co-workers, it can damage your reputation as an employee.
Tying in with the point above, offices may be busy places, but too many distractions can equal a very unproductive day. People may walk past your desk and stop for a chat or you may simply be in a very large office where noise is constant. A distraction here and there, and suddenly it is lunch time and half your day has gone. The solution is that you simply need to avoid distractions. Don’t turn anti-social by any means, but if you’re in such an environment your day can really be ruined with distractions. Get some noise-canceling headphones to use, and if need be tell your close co-workers that you don’t want to be disturbed during certain times of the day. Get rid of anything around you such as a phone that could get in your way, and shut off things such as social media and notifications on your apps. You’ll be so thankful of the change it’ll make to your day.
Updated on June 19th, 2020