Research shows that it can take as much as 10 to 18 minutes to regain the same level of attention back that you had before getting distracted. Whether you are the type to get distracted by the slightest interruption or the type who easily tunes out distractions, no one is completely attentive 100% of the time. That’s why we can all benefit from some tips for avoiding workplace distractions.
To start, you can help yourself by tackling visual distractions. Organize your workspace and limit technology interruptions—only check calls, emails, and messages when necessary, and keep any distracting clutter off your desk.
Our phones, computers, and office space clutter can be major interruptions to our focus, but surprisingly, the biggest measures we can take against office distractions are mental ones rather than physical, visual ones.
The main reason for this is mind wandering. This calls for the need to pay attention to your thoughts so you can recognize when your mind starts drifting. According to one Harvard study, 50 percent of our time is spent thinking about something other than what we’re supposed to be doing.
Other mental defenses include setting a comfortable number of objectives—usually 2 or 3—each day and giving yourself mental timeframes to complete each task. Last but not least, tell your coworkers you’re trying to minimize distractions! They may have some useful tips as well and, at the very least, those chatty neighbors might be less inclined to consume your focus and attention.
And remember, a couple small efforts to maximize your focus at work are worth the effort when they can have a noticeable positive effect on your productivity!