The age of data has arrived and it’s brought with it clear-cut performance measurement for employees.
Translation: Today, your unintended office distractions may be reason enough to get you fired. So, if you repeatedly have tasks left on your desk at the end of a workday, you’re in trouble.
In fact, multiple predictions for 2017 indicate most companies are presently acquiring/building performance assessment tools. That, and a recent catchphrase “people analytics” mean this for you –
HRs and company leaders will have dashboards complete with all info to analyse performance numbers company-wide. So, your tasks and objectives (completed or not in assigned time) will be put up on the wall for every decision makers. They can dive deep to glance a single employee’s contribution and effectiveness, or just run a whole team’s assessment.
Now, do you still not care about a little lost time in the office? Or you just can’t pinpoint what makes you so unproductive at work? In either case, here’s some help.
Emails and Office Communications
Just like the most time-sucking activities in office are often invisible to us, emails are sly tme-sinks too. No one else understands how much time you lose when a notification pings every 15 minutes.
Email and office communications are office distractions screeching for your attention. With such roadblocks to your flow, your productivity and performance are bound to take a nosedive. And one day you’re standing outside the office with a pink slip in hand, totally clueless how you got there.
Solution: Set fixed slots of limited duration spread throughout your workday to check your email. Turn your notifications off. And clear the clutter that’s your inbox so you don’t keep going back to check if you missed something.
Yes, it’s not a surprise to most. But for people who claim “I work better when I’m plugged in”, it’s a revelation.
But you’ve known for a long time those sick beats don’t actually pump you up. On the contrary, you catch yourself singing your fav track during a deep work session multiple times.
That’s what steals away your focus and pulls you into a totally unrelated thought – the sweet poison of clever office distractions. Then there are those who say, “But we only listen to instrumental or ambient music. It’s never affected us.”
Well, I can personally quote instances when I missed my work goals listening to both these kinds of music. Instrumental, which has some breezy high n lows, shifted my mood after a long exposure. Another time, an ambient tone invoked a long lost memory of the time I first heard the song.
You see? You don’t need words to get distracted.
Solution: Trick to working with music is to play it when you start a task. After a few minutes, stop it as you dive deeper into your work and your focus gets stronger. Of course, you can obviously play any music to de-stress during your breaks – just avoid it during work.
While women are stereotypically branded as the chattier of the two genders, men at workplaces are no gossip-saints. In fact, men and women, hold an equal share in passing around the spicy office tales.
More people in office means more gossip, and thus more office distractions. Especially if you’ve got a bunch of millennial employees, it doesn’t help the cause of productivity at all. Plus it drives your image far from being professional.
Solution: Establish yourself as someone who doesn’t take it lightly to being disturbed at work – especially to sit around and gossip. And be particularly firm with repeat offenders, because they can’t grasp the concept of an office with no dirt flying around.
Almost 80% people who check cellphones do it for personal messaging. Smartphones, by any count, are the worst office distractions. Constant notification popups, a barrage of texts, unwanted pings and unavoidable calls – all of which is really unimportant at work.
But we spend uncountable hours to solve a personal or colleague “crisis” which was really a minor issue. Anyone else was as qualified to solve it as you.
Solution: Ask friends and family to call only during emergencies. If you have to, call your folks during breaks. And I can’t stress on this one – Sit near super productive folks. You’ll be amazed when their efficiency rubs off on you.
Unscheduled snack breaks
Your colleagues are heading out for a light snack. You’re not hungry per se, but you’d like a tea with a couple of coworkers. Bam! Another productivity-crushing office distraction.
You get up and throw your schedule under the bus in a moment. Sometimes you don’t want to go, you don’t need a snack. But for one reason or another, you tag along to avoid something in the future. Again, your schedule just went down the drain.
Solution: Be mindful of the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere out of your schedule. Take only your scheduled breaks. And actively start telling your peers to not ask you when they’re heading out. When your office mates see you take fixed routinely breaks, perhaps they’ll accommodate their time according to you
The bottom line is – only you’re responsible for your life and work. So, if workplace distractions are hindering your productivity, you need to take accountability for it. But if the company culture itself is a problem, it’s seriously time to look for a new office.
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