A few years ago, we completed a project, and I remember how rewarding it felt. We had to research on workplace distractions, other HR issues, and possible solutions. Sometimes it’s not about the achievement or any of that.

It’s remembering the silly arguments you had just because you wanted to have a great project at the end of it all.

Refusing to forget the late evenings we spent with people we never imagined we’d stay that long with. It’s recalling that afterward, we all planned to spend the night at one’s house just baking.

We called it a ‘baking party’ at the time. I remember I fell ill and couldn’t make it to the party. Honestly, I wish I made it to the party.

I was planning to make meat pies: a Nigerian snack made with dough, potatoes, carrots and beef filling. I had to send them the recipe and I was told it turned out great, but I wish I was there with them to make it and have fun.

Either way, life happens. And that’s okay.

But trust me, a few weeks ago I had the privilege to organize a potluck at my current job, and meat pies had to be on the list for sure!

I remember the coffee we had to drink to stay alerted. Of course, you all know that I don’t drink coffee else I’d be up all night. So as always I’d opt for hot chocolate instead.

Remembering those days, spent with beautiful people inspired this post. Preparing the write-up was pretty interesting and enlightening and I thought it’d be nice to share with you, although in a different way.

There is the possibility of being distracted at work for various reasons and it may affect your productivity and safety at work. Workplace distractions may lead to fatigue, confusion, restlessness, lack of concentration, confusion, and forgetfulness.

It’d be nice to take a look at some major distractions we may encounter at work and as always, I’d share my thoughts and suggestions.

There could also be mental distractions you could encounter at work. It could be from an internal or external source.

Internal in the sense that, it may be that you are worrying too much about the things you have to do in a day and then you panic. External sources are those we would discuss in this post. An example is having to deal with too many meetings.

I’ll now suggest practical ways to help manage these workplace distractions to avoid consequences.

1.  Conversations with Coworkers

Your colleague has something interesting to tell you, but you have something really urgent to do and don’t want to come off as being rude.

The best way to handle this situation is to come out clean. Let him/ her know that you have a deadline to meet and that as soon as you are done you will be willing to have a chat.

The truth really never hurts anyone.

Sometimes, all a person wants is peace and quiet!

Sometimes workers gossip in the office and this may become a distraction.

While I don’t encourage gossiping, it could just be a current workplace issue that’s being discussed. Try as much as possible to get your work done and reduce any form of worrying that may occur as a result of your failure to meet up with time lags.

I recently released an issue, profiling Dami: a Cyber Security Consultant, DJ and Lecturer and he explained that he’d usually discuss with colleagues when he’s bored at work.

I really appreciated the fact that he said to have ‘meaningful conversations’. And it’s equally important to take into mind whether this colleague of yours is busy at the time or not.

2.  Technology

Technology has become important in every work environment. These days companies have meetings through technological means and the use of social media where necessary.

However, the use of technology in the workplace may become a distraction if not properly managed. This includes: phones, emails, the internet, etc.

From studies, nearly 71% of people answer an IM notification within 2 seconds and over 41% respond to an email that’s only 15 seconds old.

Phone/ Email use:

  • Change your notification settings to sooth your preference (it shouldn’t be distracting, so I’d go with ‘silent’)
  • Limit the number of devices you receive messages through
  • Dedicate a time of the day (morning, afternoon) to read and respond to emails or messages
  • Don’t answer personal calls during work hours and tell your family and friends about this
  • Avoid using the internet for non-work related matters

Read: Finally, No More Phone Distractions at Work!!

3.  A Micromanaging Supervisor

A supervisor that micromanages you may gradually turn into a distraction at work.

It may be advisable to keep such supervisor regularly updated on the status of your tasks. Frequent communication will reduce the urge to micromanage you.

Also, this will help make your supervisor realize that you can be independent as this is a soft skill required of every employee. It’s also good for you to have a good rapport with your supervisor as much as possible.

4. Too Many Meetings

Meetings can become distracting as well, especially when there are too many to attend, conflicting dates, or you don’t think you need to attend the meeting in the first place.

According to Ask.com, 24% of survey respondents complained about spending more time in meetings talking about work than actually doing it.

Some suggestions:

  • Prioritize your work and create a better routine to avoid worrying
  • Clear your work area to have maximum concentration before hand
  • Prepare ahead of time for a meeting and know what your obligations are
  • Kindly decline attendance of a meeting if you think that you shouldn’t be involved and you have other pressing matters to attend to
  • Properly schedule meetings and ensure that you have adequate time to prepare for the next
  • Conduct regular walk- through to observe your behaviors and conditions
  • Ensure micro-breaks to help step away for a few minutes to recharge, stretch, and refocus
  • Structure repetitive work into stages or sections instead of a long run of continuous work

Sometimes, we want to take a walk in the park and forget these distractions!

5.  Change in your organization

Transformation within your company may lead to distractions resulting to stress and uncertainty. You should become aware of the situation and make it a conscious effort to minimize such distractions you may be going through.

Understand the changes going on in your company. Try to make things align with your work life and blend in.

While trying to reduce any form of workplace distraction, other suggestions that may help are:

  • Talk to your supervisor, employer, or human resource personnel
  • Look out for other co-workers, what may be a distraction to you may be the same for them, so help each other resolve issues
  • On your part, don’t invite a colleague to a meeting where you know that he/she shouldn’t be involved

It takes determination to minimize or manage distractions at work. It’s important for you to make it a conscious effort because it’ll help improve your productivity at work and reduce chances of performing unsafe acts at work.

What distractions do you face at work and how do you try to prevent or reduce this distraction? Please share in the comment section, I’d love to know your thoughts.

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