The recent research by Udemy says that distraction in the workplace causes stress, unhappiness, and frustration. About 80% of workers have trouble concentrating as their colleagues are chatty, and about 70% are disturbed by the office noise. The research also found that other common distractions are “self-inflicted” such as smartphone and social media use (69%). Responders also stated that productivity and communication tools, like Slack and Trello, are distracting them from their tasks.
Altogether due to the constant distractions “people are more stressed, unmotivated, feel bad about themselves, their jobs, and their careers.” This leads to compensating the time lost because of distractions by working faster, which leads to even more stress, higher frustration, time pressure, and effort. (allwork.space)
So, what could we do to keep our focus?
- Find a suitable place to work. Maybe it is not realistic to work with full focus in a room full of people sharing their takes of the last blockbuster. Of course, some people manage to “switch the outside world” off, still, most of us share their focus with distractions. For example, we might be listening to others chatting without even noticing it. So, find a place at home office or in a quiet area in a coworking space, without any disturbing noises.
- Keep the common rules in mind. In offices or coworking spaces there are usually some agreed “household rules” like no chatting in quite areas designated to working or that phone calls are only to be held in booths. So, take your time, go through the rules and try to stay on them – this makes concentrating easier for you and your colleagues.
- Turn off distractions. Whenever you need to focus, silence your phone, turn off the notifications of e-mails and set yourself at idle-mode on the proactivity tools – any noise is a distraction and makes your mind wander. Did you know that once people are distracted by unwanted noise, it can take up to 25 minutes for them to regain concentration? (knoll.com)
- Listen to the music. Even if you are working in an office, people still tend to chat, so it is good to have a set of headphones to create your own little world. Music platforms, e.g. Spotify, have many lists gathering music helping to concentrate.
- Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. People, who have trouble sleeping, know that earplugs help to cancel outside noises and are relatively cheap. Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive comparing to regular ones, but they could be considered as a multipurpose substitute for the earplugs.
- De-stress. When some background noises are bothering us more than usual, it might be a sign of stress. Take a break for 15 minutes, have a walk in a neighbourhood or plan some relaxing activities for the evening as it could reduce the stress level.