12 common distractions at work and how to stay focused either way | entrepreneur (2023)

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether you work from home, at your favorite coffee shop, or in a busy office, distractions have become a familiar part of the modern workplace. In some cases, especially for creative tasks,Distractions can be good. This may seem counterintuitive, but distractions can help us break out of a rut known as cognitive fixation. we have one toointernal urge to be distracted.

However, considering that weinterrupted every 11 minutesYIt takes our brains 25 minutes to refocus on the original task-- Workplace distractions should be avoided as much as possible.

According to a Udemy survey, distractions at work have a negative impact on performance, productivity and potential. Also, to compensate for these interruptions, people work faster. TOStudy from the University of California at Irvineshows that this increases stress and frustration. And even a brief interruption doublesthe error rate of an employee.

In short, constant distractions don't just affect the bottom line. They can also harm a person's health.

How can you address these workplace distractions before they become a problem?

You need to start by figuring out what exactly is distracting your team. Knowing what the distraction is and how it happens can help you create a plan to stifle those interruptions. Here are 12 of the most common interruptions in your workplace that you need to address, ASAP.

1. Smartphones

There is no surprise here. Finally,The average person in the US checks their phone 52 times a day. And it's easy to see why. We are bombarded with emails, text messages, social media notifications, and phone calls all day long. In addition, we use our phones to jot down reminders, view our calendars, listen to a podcast, or go shopping. No wonder we are addicted.

Breaking the addiction to your smartphone is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either. Best practices are to put your phone in airplane mode or use the phone's Do Not Disturb feature. This action can be performed on both Android and AndroidIphone. You can also move your phone to another room or leave it in a desk drawer, pocket, or bag.

(Video) How to never get distracted?

Scheduling specific times throughout the day also helps reduce "during business hours" usage. For example, I silence my phone when I need to focus solely on my work. Usually this takes about two hours. After I finish my work, I check my phone to make sure I haven't missed anything important. To make sure I don't overeat myself, I only give myself 10 minutes on the phone before I go back to work.

Related:10 Powerful Ways to Master Self-Discipline

2. Emails

We send a lot of emails. How many? Well, in 2017, an incredible one.Every day 269 billion emails are sent around the world.. This number of emails is expected to grow to around 333 billion in 2019.

Just like your smartphone, there's a temptation to stop what you're doing and check your inbox every time a new message arrives. Unfortunately, if you do this all day, how can you ever get the job done?

The simplest solution is to disable email notifications on your phone. You should also close any applications or web browsers that contain your email. I also use an app like SaneBox to manage my inbox because it filters out messages that aren't important.

The most important thing to remember is that in the event of an emergency, you won't just be notified by email. People will call you or knock on your door. Everything else can wait until it has its scheduled time to go through your inbox.

3. Background noise

Take a moment and really listen to all the noise that goes on in an office. People talk, machines work, phones ring, and doors open and close. It's not even about annoyances like coughing, loud snacking, or playing music.

Background noise is unavoidable. If it's too distracting, consider investing in noise-canceling headphones, or move to a quieter area if you need to devote 100 percent of your attention to a task. I also found that apps likeNoisliI can drown out background noise while improving my focus.

4. Personal interruptions

Just like background noise, interruptions from employees, customers, vendors, and family members are inevitable. engineersOtherHe identified "patting on the back" as one of his most common distractions.

(Video) How I *Quickly* Removed Distractions and Started a New Life (you can too) | Anuj Pachhel

One way to avoid this is to keep your office door closed when you don't want to be disturbed. For security, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. When you work in an open office, you send signals like wearing headphones and being honest. If someone has a direct, work-related question, give them the answer and move on.

Another tactic is to plan these performances. For example, you can block a period of time on your calendar when it's available for popups. I also incorporate some in-between time between tasks and meetings. So if someone comes to me with a question, it doesn't mess up my entire schedule.

5. Clutter

While in small dosesA little bit of clutter can foster a creative spirit., The fact is that a messy workplaceaffects your ability to focus and process information. Confusion and clutter is essentially a to-do list that reminds you of everything that needs to be done. As such, it takes you away from being present. Over time, this will make you feel more anxious and stressed.

The repair? Keep your work space clean and organized. Discard items you no longer need. Put the documents in the appropriate folders. Ideally, you should move as much paperwork to the cloud as possible to reduce the number of filing cabinets. Make sure all your office supplies have a home and are returned at the end of the day.

Even if you don't do this every day, you should clean your workspace at least every week. For example, a Friday afternoon is perfect. You've probably already mentally marked your way out for the week, so this is an easy task that can be completed quickly.

Related:Your office is not big enough for clutter and productivity

6. Multitasking

I'm sure we're all guilty of juggling too many tasks at once. You are a successful entrepreneur, why can't you juggle several responsibilities at once? The truth is that our brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

Multitasking doesn't save you time or make you more productive.It actually slows you down. “As he goes from one task to another, he believes that he is paying attention to everything around him at the same time. But you're not really," said neuroscientist Earl Miller.NPR. "You don't pay attention to one or two things at a time, you switch from one to the other very quickly."

Plus, when you multitask, you make more mistakes, reduce creative thinking, and potentially damage your brain. Multitasking was one of the hardest bad habits to break. There are still times when I do more than one thing at a time. I was able to change this habit by creating task-specific time blocks on mine.calendar app.

(Video) Distractions Remedy for students during Preparation

For example, it took me a few hours to write this article. During this time, my phone was turned off and the office door was closed. Whenever my sanity began to question, I would get up and walk around the office for a few minutes to clear my head. It sounds easy, but this habit is not easy to break. Leaving my desk for a few minutes encouraged me to focus on composing this piece instead of doing five other things at once. Only then did I jump to my next priority.

7. Employees

The exchange with your employees, colleagues and business partners is essential to build a friendly and cooperative corporate culture. However, talking or gossiping too much about Game of Thrones isn't just a huge distraction. Rumors themselves can also create a toxic workplace.

As a manager, you simply cannot allow gossip in the workplace. It must be addressed and dealt with immediately, even if it is as bad as firing an employee. When it comes to friendly conversations, you need to set boundaries.

If someone engages you in conversation and you're busy, politely tell them you don't have time to talk right now, but you can meet for lunch. And as mentioned above, if you don't want to be disturbed, you can also signal without a word with headphones.

8. Micromanagement

While you need to stay on top of what's going on at your company, the role of helicopter manager isn't just a distraction for your team. They also find it frustrating, bewildering, and anxiety-provoking.

Ratherpromote personal responsibilityand let your team do what you hired them to do when you keep interrupting them taking care of every detail. Imagine you're on a blueprint for a project and your boss barges in and points out everything you've done wrong. How productive do you think you will be? Disruption stifles creativity, personal growth, and destroys trust between you and your employees.

Giving up some control is never easy for entrepreneurs. But you have to let your team do their thing. Not being a micromanager doesn't mean you're doing extensive research. It means keeping an eye on everyone and guiding them without interfering with their work throughout the day.

9. Hunger

It's almost impossible to concentrate when your stomach is growling. Unfortunately, we satisfy that craving with junk food because it's readily available.

It takes a lot of willpower to dodge the vending machine or call a pizza delivery man. But you need healthier options that eliminate your hunger pangs while keeping you focused and energized.

(Video) How To Focus And Avoid Distractions At Work

Equip your office with healthier snack options. For example, I always have almonds nearby. When I'm hungry, I just eat a handful of almonds. I also started looking for options e.g.Snack-Nationwho delivers healthy snacks to the office.

10. Unnecessarily strict guidelines.

"When it comes to culture, many employers are happy to enforce a set of policies to encourage employees to be on time," Andre Lovie wrote in a previous report.entrepreneurArticle. "Punctuality is, of course, important to running a successful organization."

“However, policies that are too strict can be more stressful. During their busy commute, when employees are worried and in a hurry, they start the day on the wrong foot,” Lovie continued. “This can affect overall staff morale, particularly for those who travel long distances five days a week. You may already come to work exhausted and frustrated.”

If you're in a leadership role, Lovie suggests that you "focus more on building a culture that values ​​employees who are productive and 'A' players. The strong message employers can send is that punctuality matters, but what is even more important is performance."

You can also offer your employees a flexible schedule that allows them to arrive at work later in the morning to avoid the hectic commute to work. Another option would be to allow them to occasionally work remotely. If you're an employee, you might want to ask your boss if any of these possible solutions to your hectic commute to work are.

11. Sessions

Meetings are notorious for being unproductiveand distract time wasters. Time is wasted because people are pulled from work and then forced to sit in a meeting for an hour, even though they don't have to be present.

Before planning a meeting, think carefully about whether it is necessary. In most cases, you can skip the meeting and communicate with your team via email, Slack, or a project management tool like Trello. If a meeting is required, invite only critical stakeholders, create an agenda, and keep it as short as possible.

Another option is to schedule one day a week when there are no meetings, like B the famous"There is no meeting on Wednesday.“Having a meeting-free day each week allows everyone to work on their most important tasks without being disturbed.

Related:Start with an agenda to run effective meetings in a crazy, busy world

(Video) S2 Mini 12: Overcoming Distractions at Work

12. Decision fatigue

As explained in aNew York TimesArticle: "No matter how rational and haughty you try to be, you can't make a decision without paying a biological price." What's the price? Usually this is an inability to focus or take action. Just think how well you can focus on a task when you're mentally exhausted.

The possible solution is to reduce the number of decisions you make on a daily basis. Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg did it by wearing the same clothes every day. Others find success by preparing their meals for the week, delegating tedious responsibilities, and automating certain tasks like canned email responses and scheduling.


12 common distractions at work and how to stay focused either way | entrepreneur? ›

Sometimes these distractions make us lose our focus. These distractions can be obvious, like a notification on your smartphone that you have a new message or subtler, like the sounds of traffic or a conversation in a nearby room.

What are focused distractions? ›

Sometimes these distractions make us lose our focus. These distractions can be obvious, like a notification on your smartphone that you have a new message or subtler, like the sounds of traffic or a conversation in a nearby room.

What are the 5 types of distractions? ›

Types of Distractions
  • Ambient noise (passengers, crew, equipment)
  • Noisy equipment due to malfunction.
  • Active conversations with passengers and colleagues.
  • Information overload from displays.
  • Cell phone use (talking, texting, gaming, social media use)
  • Mind wandering, rumination.
Oct 23, 2019

How can you help to keep focused at work? ›

13 ways to focus better at work
  1. Track your mood.
  2. Assess your mental focus.
  3. Eliminate distractions for better concentration.
  4. Give mediation and mindfulness a try.
  5. Notice your sleep patterns and lift your cognitive function.
  6. Get your body moving to improve your brain function.
  7. Pay attention to what you put in your mouth.

How do you stay focused when distracted? ›

Feeling Distracted? 10 Tricks For Getting Your Focus Back On Track
  1. Do A Mindfulness Exercise. ...
  2. Work With Productive People. ...
  3. Give Yourself A Reward To Look Forward To. ...
  4. Clear Any Distractions From Your Environment. ...
  5. Complete Your 'Reset Routine' ...
  6. Get In Some Physical Activity. ...
  7. Take A Short Nap.
Jan 3, 2023

What is the best way to stay focused? ›

There's no one answer for how to improve focus, but the following tips can help.
  1. Eliminate distractions. ...
  2. Reduce multitasking. ...
  3. Practice mindfulness and meditation. ...
  4. Get more sleep. ...
  5. Choose to focus on the moment. ...
  6. Take a short break. ...
  7. Connect with nature. ...
  8. Train your brain.

How can I improve my focus and limit distractions? ›

These tips may help you increase your focus and complete the things that count:
  1. Have a Plan the Night Before. ...
  2. Turn Off the Distractions. ...
  3. Get Comfortable. ...
  4. Practice Meditation. ...
  5. Set Smaller Goals. ...
  6. Sleep. ...
  7. Use Visual Reminders. ...
  8. Reward Yourself.
Jul 13, 2016

What are your top five distractions how do you deal with them? ›

In this blog post, you'll learn the five distractions that can be dramatically reduced so you can become more productive.
  • #1: Surfing The Web. The web has granted us many gifts. ...
  • #2: Social Media. ...
  • #3: TV. ...
  • #4: Music. ...
  • #5: Your Thoughts. ...
  • Distractions are among us. ...
  • Leverage Your Time Better With A Productivity Pie.
Apr 8, 2016

What is an example of a distraction? ›

It was hard to work with so many distractions. One of them created a distraction while the other grabbed the money. A weekend at the beach was a good distraction from her troubles. Their endless chatter drove her to distraction.

Which distractions falls under all 3 types of distractions? ›

Texting & Driving Combines All Types of Distracted Driving

That is because texting and driving combines all the main types of distraction.

What are three main types of distraction? ›

Visual: taking your eyes off the road. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.

What are the three distraction techniques? ›

There are three key 'distraction' approaches: cognitive distraction, behavioural distraction, and physiological distraction, though techniques can overlap.

What is the most common type of distraction? ›

Two of the most common distractions — talking on cell phones or texting while driving — are especially dangerous because they fall under all three types of distracted driving.

What are the seven distractions? ›

The Seven Distractions

In his early fifties, Maurice expresses the idea that only seven things can distract a person from the horrors of existence: love, grief, pain sentimentality, avarice, lust, and a desire for death.

What are four common types of distractions _____? ›

When discussing the four types of distractions, we are going to specifically look at visual distractions, manual distractions, auditory distractions, and cognitive distractions.

What are some worldly distractions? ›

9 Ever-Present Distractions That Keep Us From Fully Living
  • The Promise of Tomorrow. ...
  • The Pursuit of Perfection. ...
  • The Regret of Yesterday. ...
  • The Accumulation of Possessions. ...
  • The Desire for Wealth. ...
  • The Need for Notoriety. ...
  • The Pull of Comparison. ...
  • The Appeal of Pleasure.

What keeps you motivated and focused at work? ›

Think about what it was about the project that felt so personally fulfilling. Write down your thoughts and reflect. Facing important tasks with a sense of purpose will help give you the motivation you need to stay focused and on-task.

How do you stay focused and energized at work? ›

Eight quick tips to stay energized at work
  1. Make sure you get a good night's rest. ...
  2. Have some protein with your breakfast. ...
  3. De-clutter and organize your workspace. ...
  4. Take a real lunch break. ...
  5. Move around. ...
  6. Get a change of scene. ...
  7. Change your posture. ...
  8. Hydrate.

Why am I struggling to focus at work? ›

Loss of focus can happen for many reasons. They include mental and physical health problems, stress, the use of some medications, and a lack of sleep or and inadequate diet.

How do you stay focused and attentive? ›

Need Help Staying Focused? Try These 10 Tips
  1. Remove distractions.
  2. Drink coffee.
  3. Take breaks.
  4. Avoid social media.
  5. Stay fueled.
  6. Prioritize sleep.
  7. Set goals.
  8. Be mindful.
Oct 16, 2019

What are 9 ways to stay focused? ›

Here are 13 tips scientists have found that enhance focus.
  • Minimize multitasking. ...
  • Meditate. ...
  • Exercise regularly. ...
  • Establish a to-do list. ...
  • Try a small amount of caffeine. ...
  • Take breaks. ...
  • Listen to the right music. ...
  • Train your brain to focus.
Jan 26, 2022

How can I stay focused for 8 hours? ›

Here are four tips that will get you into that perfect rhythm.
  1. Break your day into hourly intervals. ...
  2. Respect your hour. ...
  3. Take real rest. ...
  4. Don't wait until your body tells you to take a break.

What is our greatest distraction? ›

The greatest distraction of our lives is what is going on in the lives of other people. Nothing distorts our thinking, confuses our direction, and leads us down destructive paths like our fixation on others.

What are 2 examples of an internal distraction? ›

Internal distractions are your own thoughts and emotions. These can include thoughts about pressing responsibilities or pleasant things that you'd rather be doing. This can also include emotions about life circumstances, the task you are working on, fears, and worries.

What is the root of distraction? ›

Distraction comes from the Latin dis-, "apart," and trahere, "drag." So distraction is when you're dragged away from your task or from your worries.

What is a positive distraction? ›

Background: Positive distraction involves distracting oneself from a stressor by thinking about or engaging in activities that induce positive emotion.

What other distractions affect concentration and focus? ›

Internal distractions like hunger, fatigue, illness, stress, worries, other distracting thoughts (things you should be doing instead, things you'd rather be doing, etc.) can interrupt your concentration as much as external distractions.

What is the best example of cognitive distraction? ›

Talking to another passenger or being preoccupied with personal, family, or work-related issues are examples of cognitive distraction. Even drivers listening to their favorite radio station or podcast are at risk; the audio can take the driver's focus away from their driving and overall surroundings.

What are manual distractions? ›

Manual Distraction

This is when a driver takes their hands off the wheel for any reason. This type of distraction includes: Eating/drinking while driving. Adjusting the radio. Using a cell phone or navigation device.

What causes easy distraction? ›

Being easily distracted is a common indication of persistently elevated stress such as that from behaving overly apprehensively and the semi emergency readiness state it can cause. There are many more reasons why anxiety can cause the easily distracted symptom.

Which one of the following is a leading cause of distracted? ›

Talking and texting.

People who use their cell phones to talk or text while driving are by far the most common reason for distracted driving accidents.

What is distraction in challenging Behaviour? ›

Distraction means shifting your child's attention away from something that's frustrating or boring to something more engaging or interesting. You can use distraction when children are likely to behave in challenging ways. For example, this might be when they: are getting cranky. have been sitting still for a long time.

What is the classic distraction technique? ›

Distraction techniques
  1. Counting things around you (e.g how many blue things are in your room)
  2. Doodling or colouring.
  3. Counting backwards from 10, then from 25, and then 50.
  4. Focussing on your breathing, by breathing in for four, holding your breath for four and then breathe out for four (link to meditation tile)

What are passive distraction techniques? ›

Passive distraction includes watching videos, listening to music on headphones, reading a book to the child, or telling him a story. Active distraction, on the other hand, encourages the child's participation in the activities during the procedures.

What coping strategy is distract? ›

Distraction involves using behaviors such as watching television, exercising, reading, or engaging in other pleasurable activities to distract oneself from the stressful event. Distraction is a passive coping strategy in that the person copes without directly confronting the situation or trying to solve the problem.

What are some of the most common distractions? ›

We readily admit that we spend too much time checking e-mail, watching television, or playing games on our phone. After all, the battle plays out in front of us each day. Far more detrimental to our lives are the subtle distractions that quietly surround us.

What are the three common types of distractions? ›

Visual: taking your eyes off the road. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.

What are the 3 distractions? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 3 main types of distraction are visual, manual, and cognitive.

What are things to keep you distracted? ›

Strategies to Redirect Your Thoughts and Distract Your Mind
  • Play a Memory Game. ...
  • Think in Categories. ...
  • Use Math and Numbers. ...
  • Recite Something. ...
  • Make Yourself Laugh. ...
  • Use an Anchoring Phrase. ...
  • Visualize a Daily Task You Enjoy or Don't Mind Doing. ...
  • Describe a Common Task.
Apr 24, 2020

What is the number one distraction? ›

Texting and Driving

It should come as no surprise that texting is the number-one concern when it comes to distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies it as the “most alarming distraction” on our nation's roads.

How do you make a distraction list? ›

Whenever you sit down to do some meaningful work, keep a small notebook or pad of paper and pencil next to you. When you notice yourself distracted by a particular thought, feeling, or any other internal event, quickly jot it down and then re-focus your attention onto your work.

What are situational distractions examples? ›

Situational distractions, source distractions, medium distractions, failure to focus on the message, judging too soon and listening anxiety. All the presences in your environment. Example: TV, music, texting, Facebook, etc. Solution: Limit your exposure to distractions.

What are 5 driving distractions? ›

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

How do you identify distractions? ›

If you can pause to identify what you're feeling, then you can begin to make changes.
  1. Pause when you're about to step into a distraction.
  2. Identify the negative emotion.
  3. Identify what it is that you need to get done.
  4. Remove the ability to carry out the distraction.
Jan 30, 2020

What is cognitive distractions? ›

Cognitive distraction essentially is any activity that demands mental attention and takes a driver's focus away from the road. Under this definition, using a voice-activated infotainment system, listening to a hands-free phone conversation and following directions from a GPS can all produce cognitive distraction.


1. A Clever Way to Study for Exams
(Gohar Khan)
2. How to avoid distraction while studying | How to Study with concentration | #shorts #ytshorts
3. How TO avoid DISTRACTIONS (HOW to focus BETTER at WORK) | Self Help
(Self Help & Self Improvement)
4. How To Stay Focused | Avoid Distractions
5. How to Study Better
(Gohar Khan)
6. STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR GOAL - Best Motivational Speech
(Ben Lionel Scott)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 05/14/2023

Views: 5678

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.