“You have to pay attention to the most task-relevant cues. You’ve got to separate signal from noise.” Robert M. Nideffer, Ph.D., Performance psychologist in San Diego and president of Enhanced Performance Systems.
“All workers have trouble with distractions in the workplace to some degree. The key is to limit those distractions as much as possible. We’d all get burnt out pretty quickly if we didn’t get distracted from time to time and take our minds off of work. The danger, however, is when distractions take up too much of our time and prevent us from getting our work done.” Andy Teach
Distractions range from external annoyances like loud phone talkers or next street roadwork to self-distractions such as Facebook, personal email, or surfing the Web.
Though the frequency and nature of distractions depends on your line of work, office setup, workplace culture, there are a number of common workplace disruptions that many of us get to know at some point:
Set blocks of time for work that requires concentration.
Try using the first hour at work to get rid (or get a maximum done) in your most difficult project.
Ask your people for quiet time, and if that is not possible, go into another room or quieter space
Spending a few minutes each day checking e-mail or texting is not a problem, but doing any of these in excess will distract you from your work.
Turn off email and text alerts and, if your task require it, only check your messages
Keep only the project you are working on now in front of you. If your workspace tends to the chaotic it may be a sign that you are a visual organizer and the common organizing tips won’t work for you.
Take more control by structuring your time and becoming more aware of your behavior. Set an alarm to go off every hour (or half hour, if your case is bad), as a reminder to stay on task.
It’s a way of creating awareness, if you notice you’ve lost focus then you’ll b able to do something about it.
Peoples’ work styles are different. Some of us are naturally more distractible, or more social, or more physically restless. Rather than beating yourself up for your lack of focus, experiment to learn what works for you.
Pick your top two distractions and give two weeks attention to keeping them high on your radar and resolving them.
Letting others know about your strategy to minimize distractions will help you stay focused. Weightwatcher’s way…
If your day is riddled with people walking over to meet with you at their convenience, put a sign on your door, set “visits” or “no visits” schedules. Talk to them, ask them gently to respects your productivity.
Lack of sleep makes you tired, irritable, and erodes your ability to focus.
Being even a little dehydrated will make you feel tired and sluggish and possibly more susceptible to distractions.
“You control it, rather than it controlling you.”
Scheduling distractions as a reward for productivity can motivate your brain to stay focused. Distractions are good for you, the brain benefits significantly from breaks. You may even come back and feel more creative if you take your mind off its primary focus for a little while. Just control it.
If your distraction is Facebook, Twitter or other social media, schedule time for that (especially END time) , so that you’re proactive, not reactive.
Take time at the end of the day to reflect on your day and what you want to focus on tomorrow. Write your priorities for the next day and review your list when you come in
Home is full of distractions. PhD students have flexible schedules, which makes it all the more important to force yourself to go into work every day.
Make your work-space a comfortable, productive, enjoyable place to be:
Get an comfortable chair, a good keyboard and decorate your work-space.
Make it a fun place to be.
LeechBlock is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.
Nanny for Google Chrome (previously Chrome Nanny) allows you to be more productive and less distracted by blocking sites.
StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.
Web Timer is a simple and intuitive extension that lets you keep track of how you’re spending your time on the web.
Unexpected but actual source of distraction.