As workplace normalities differ within each and every office community, there’s one occurrence that is found no matter where you go: distraction.
The average attention span of a human shown has fallen significantly over time, resting at about eight seconds. This measurement places our collective ability to focus at a rate shorter than that of a goldfish, which is nine seconds.
The number of distractions in working human life is only increasing as time goes on, as smartphones have proven that their various functions have the ability to barge in on our primary purposes at work. Our tendency to divert our attention away from tasks is what will likely decrease productivity in the workplace.
Overdoing It May Be Your First Mistake
Our surroundings play a large role in our ability to focus. Whether you’re contained by a cubicle or are lucky enough to have your own office, the setting in which your work takes place will contribute to how quickly and effectively it gets done. Many factors come into play in this situation, such as the amount of light in your space, the volume of those around you, and even the pictures which you choose to pin to your office walls. Be thoughtful in your process of decorating. By no means should you tear all photos off the wall, just avoid overly distracting images. This would include photos with bright and overwhelming colors, or decorations with any moving parts. No matter where you may work, your office or designated area is a professional space, and should not be overwhelmed with objects. Although an office that is pleasing to the eye is charming in theory, the people in your photos can dance off of the walls and keep you from completing necessary tasks.
Adults can be very similar to young kids. Years of life come with large acquisitions of knowledge, but natural human habits will always remain constant. In a recent study done by the Association for Psychological Science, results found that “children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains that when the decorations were removed.” Obviously a classroom setting and an office are very different, but nonetheless, they are both environments for learning and working. Simplicity may not be the most extravagant choice, but it’s a choice which will likely result in a higher level of productivity—the key reason you’re working in the first place.
The workplace is not charitable in providing the ability to focus, and therefore, it is your responsibility to account for your own distractions. Working from home presents different sorts of difficulties, and sometimes interruptions are even more relentless. Home offices with doors that close are typically very effective, but if you don’t happen to be so lucky, preparation for a day of work is necessary.
Shut out Sidetracking
Take time to think about what triggers your shift in focus on a daily basis. In or out of the office space, there are many things that draw our attention. However, our irresistible technological devices seem to present the most challenges. The average office worker spends about five hours per week on their cell phone while at work doing things that have nothing to do with their job. Email alerts and text “dings” bring about a seductive emotion, almost forcing us to pick up our phones and ultimately become sidetracked. There’s no telling how long this will last, for our phones have the unique ability to influence us for hours upon hours.
What people don’t realize is that there is a way to banish these disruptions, though many disregard it. Silencing your phone, better yet, stowing it in a closed drawer will likely help you more than hurt you.
Another known distraction which office workers are commonly faced with is friendship. Becoming comfortable with the people you work with can allow yourself the strength to excel to the best of your potential. Having friends within your place of work can heighten your all-around experience, but it can also create a hindrance in the environment.
Friends are fun, there’s no doubt about it. However, they have the ability to divert your attention away from what you’re supposed to be doing. Even as an adult, it’s important to draw a fine line between work and play, and make sure that they stay separate. Time with friends is meant for after work hours and the weekend. During the week between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., there’s work that needs your complete and undivided attention.
Give Your Mind a Break
No matter how long you’ve been in the workforce, the days just never seem to shorten. No matter the amount of work on your hands, many external aspects of life often find their way in.
Although it’d make for a much shorter week, it’s nearly impossible to sit in the same spot for eight hours working continuously. It’s not human. Our brains need a break from time to time. Throughout the day, it’s essential to make time for breaks.
Our lives are difficult, more difficult than we give ourselves credit for. When we’re pressed for time, a break seems like the least effective way to get things done. As it turns out, pressing the reset button after a few minutes of air can allow us to get more done in less time. Breaking up tasks and giving ourselves the time to decompress will make for a more productive day as a whole.
Your Work Rate is Your Responsibility
The number of things that hold the ability to distract us from our duties is something that will only increase with time. With all of the inevitable deterrents in a work environment, the rate of your productivity lies in your own hands!
How do you block out day-to-day work distractions? How have you learned to ignore them? Call iGenCo today to see how we can help your workplace become more productive!