While distractions in the workplace are inevitable, there are a few productivity hacks you can implement to cut down on the chaos and level up your concentration.
Ever wonder how some of your co-workers manage to be more productive than the rest? While certain colleagues seem uninterrupted by daily distractions, most of us find it hard to buckle down and concentrate at least once during the workday. While every distraction may not throw you off course, you will inevitably lose focus due to some commotion, notification or well-intentioned office mate. Once derailed, it can take as long as 23 minutes to return to your original task, if you succeed in getting back into the groove.
The silver lining is that there are a few productivity hacks that you can implement to cut down on the chaos. Here are a few ways to level up your concentration at work:
- Tune into your biological clock. Instead of working at a constant and consistent pace all day, pause periodically to check texts and read social media. Make room in your schedule to work diligently for long spurts, 90 minutes or so, and then to take a true 20-minute break to allow the mind to clear. This enables both sides of the brain to exercise and to rest, keeping you sharp and energized.
- Ask yourself, "Is this meeting necessary?" Too many meetings can hurt productivity. Bouncing from meeting to meeting doesn't give workers ample time to focus on their individual tasks, or prepare for the meetings that really do matter. Bottom line: If the meeting is more of a formality than to address pressing issues (or push important assignments to completion), it can be forgone.
- Cancel out the noise. Working in an office space is inevitably going to get noisy. Investing in a noise-canceling headset. Putting on some music (or a podcast) will allow you to get in your own zone and drown out the distractions around you.
- Switch up your environment. Sometimes physically not being at your desk is a good way to avoid interruptions from co-workers, allowing you to concentrate on your to-do list. For example, finding a conference room or working from home, when possible, can be more productive. Everyone works differently, so knowing which environment is right for you (given the task at hand) will greatly increase your concentration.
- Don't be afraid to disconnect. When you're facing a tight deadline, it's important that colleagues give you the space and time needed to concentrate. Give them a heads up that you're on deadline, sign off of messaging platforms and silence your phone. If you make it clear that you need to be "in the zone," most co-workers will cut unneeded distractions so you can complete the task at hand.
The desire for greater productivity is a workforce constant that spans geographies, languages, cultures and industries. While companies can address some workplace productivity challenges, it also comes down to the individual to channel the concentration habits that work best for them.