5 ways to minimize distractions at work

Research continually tells us multitasking decreases productivity rather than increasing it. By dividing your focus, you’re increasing your stress levels and decreasing your performance abilities, write Joseph Grenny for Harvard Business Review. Here are five ways you can minimize your workplace distractions:

  1. Be aware of your emotions. Most interruptions are responses that we naturally have for avoiding un­­com­­fortable emotions. Becoming more aware of these interrupting emotions will help you reduce your response to interruptions that take up time such as emails or phone alerts.
  2. Do the easy things first. By checking off the easy tasks on your list first you’ll have more time to focus on the large issues without menial tasks looking over your shoulder. If it takes less than two minutes of your focus, get it done first.
  3. Learn what times of the day you’re most productive. Use this time to do the more complex tasks on your list. Make sure to turn off your phone as well as anything with notifications so that you can get things done without any distractions.
  4. Exercise your attention muscle. Start by timing how long you can focus and steadily increase this time with each task you tackle. Turn off all media and use the time to allow your mind to focus on issues.
  5. Get out of the office. Moving about can help boost mental activity. Go outside and think about any challenging problems; the change in scenery might present a solution.

— Adapted from “5 Ways to Minimize Office Dis­­trac­­tions,” Joseph Grenny, Harvard Business Review.