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8 tricks help you stay on task at work

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businessman typing on computerBanishing workplace distractions is a great way to ensure you stay on task throughout the day and remain as productive as possible.

Julie Morgenstern, professional organizer and author of Time Man­­age­­ment from the Inside Out, offers these tips for getting rid of workplace distractions.

1. Change your environment. Create a kind of cocoon by stacking books or moving files to make yourself less accessible.    

2. Be honest with yourself. Accepting that distractions are out there is half the battle in keeping them at bay when your mind is tempted to stray.

3. Make a plan. Preparing a list of what you need to get done or setting a timer can help you focus.

4. Take a walk. When you do need a break, don’t hop online—hop out of your chair and get some fresh air. Doing so provides a different kind of brain stimulation that can leave you refreshed.

5. Let others know when you’re buckling down. Put a sign on your workspace saying “on task” or “on deadline.” Talk to your team about everyone adopting the practice.

6. Send it to email. “Can you email me that?” is a good way to get someone to stop talking to you while you’re focused on working.

7. Hold your line. If people ignore your sign or keep talking, defend the boundary you’ve set. Acknowledge that what they’re saying is important and explain you want to give it your full attention when you’re able to do so.

8. Bring it up off deadline. Set up check-in times so you can communicate when it works for you.

— Adapted from “8 Ways to Destroy Workplace Dis­­trac­­tions,” Laura McMullen, U.S. News & World Report.

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