As humans, we always want to be productive.
At the same time, our tendency to mind-wander is innate–it’s just there.
If only our brains function without distraction in 8 hours of everyday work, the world would be perfect and entirely efficient, just like what most unrealistic movies and books show.
Although technology brings the majority of the distractions we have today, it also provides a lot of benefits to combat being distracted–and this includes tools. Through various tools designed for specific purposes, we can learn how to avoid distractions and take a step towards a (Almost) non-distracted work life.
Table of Contents
Types of distractions
Every beginning of self-improvement includes acknowledgement. To fight distractions, it’s essential to classify the types of distractions that you experience in order to avoid them. Distractions are everywhere–it’s not limited to technology or social media; it can be a small noise, a past memory, or even a pet. However, some of the most common distractions at work include:
Over 50% of employees admit that they get distracted by their mobile devices at work. With the consistent fame of swiping down on TikTok videos and eye-shopping on online stores, being distracted by phones is deeply understandable.
Since mobile devices are almost like clothes that’s part of our daily lives, it’s difficult to control them. We need phones to stay connected–and lessening the use of it can be a disadvantage.
With a working desk full of unnecessary stuff and random objects, it’s challenging to stay focused. While decorating desks with photo frames and inspiring things can do the trick to stay motivated, it’s important to know that maintaining a clean workspace can allow you to think better and be less distracted.
Oh, the fun of small chats and endless gossip. Conversing with peers at the workplace can be entertaining, but it’s one of the biggest factors of employee distraction.
Aside from being a distraction, chatty co-workers can promote less efficient and unfocused space. It can be difficult to pay attention to work if someone keeps on bugging you about company happenings or just random stories.
Being distracted with co-workers isn’t limited to having normal conversations–it can be during non-sense meetings. In fact, over 31 hours in a month is being spent by companies on unproductive meetings and pointless conversations–which makes room for more unproductivity and distractions.
Stress and emotional distractions
Stress, together with other personal matters, contributes to biggest distractions especially during work. Since 83% of US employees suffer from work-related stress, this can be damaging not just for business, but also to employees’ overall health and work-life balance. While stress is inevitable, it will be helpful to be empathetic towards colleagues to avoid additional stress that result from distractions.
The harmful effects of getting distracted
It’s obvious to achieve little especially when distracted–but it’s actually more than that. Distractions, when not addressed and managed properly, can lead to negative effects in the long run. Some of them include:
Some people believe that small interruptions aren’t the end of their world while others may become noticeably irritated and frustrated when they are interrupted. Studies show that distractions can double your chances of making a mistake at work.
If you change your focus, you must refocus when you pick it back up again. If you do it too often, you’ll lose your train of thought, and in most cases, you’ll need to start again. There are some good distractions too, and they can be helpful, bringing new perspectives and creative ideas. Meanwhile, the bad ones can wreak havoc because they cause stress and anxiety.
Low quality and shallow work
Distractions and productivity are closely related to each other. Constant distractions result in shallow work–which refers to the menial tasks we perform at work. We classify them as “low-value” because they usually require little cognitive effort. According to statistics, distractions at work don’t add any immediate value to productivity.
Deep work is focused on long periods of uninterrupted work where we can focus completely on the task at hand. Distraction-free time allows us to immerse fully in our work. We do our best creative work when we’re fully present. Distractions take us away from that state and ensure that we perform at less than peak levels. Hence, being distracted can allow us to just provide shallow work and not the best state that we can give.
How to avoid distractions?
Create a designated office
One of the key answers on how to avoid getting distracted is to create a designated workspace. It may sound simple, but taking the time to change your environment will allow you to change your perspective and improve focus. It entirely depends on what kind of office you think works best for you, but a lot of employees prefer to work alone than being with other people. In fact, when remote work rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey stated that over 86% of employees work better when they’re alone–increasing maximum productivity. Even just for an hour or two, employees fully focusing on work seems to do the trick, without co-workers unexpectedly dropping by your desks for a chit-chat.
Aside from working alone, creating a designated office is also all about making an ideal place for work–especially during remote work. Allotting a room with a desk and comfortable chair can be helpful for your work-from-home set up, so make sure to invest and take the time to organize your place to increase efficiency. Keep in mind that making a tidy space promotes a more organized workplace–reduce things on your desk that can distract you.
Read more: Tips On How To Succeed In Working From Home
Use online tools that can help you focus
Wondering how to avoid distractions? Online productivity tools always help. To increase focus and productivity, check out these helpful tools that you should add to your productivity app list.
PlatoForms is an online form builder perfect for all aspects of online PDF form creation. A tool that focuses on maximizing productivity rather than lessening distractions, this simple tool can help you get things done in a short period of time. Whether you’re making online fillable PDF forms or letting your customers complete PDF forms online, you can create, convert, and make workflows for your PDFs to increase efficiency.
Pro-tip: With this tool, you can make online fillable PDF forms for surveys, engagement questionnaires, or exams. Know more about how you can complete your online PDF forms experience with PlatoForms here.
With the consistent notifications and social media updates, it’s just so hard to put your phone down to focus. With Freedom, controlling social media distraction is now possible. The tool has features that allow you to block websites (Facebook, Reddit, Slack, etc), block applications, and even the internet. The great thing about this software is its ability to sync across different devices–whether you’re using Mac, Windows, or iOS–you can control your distractions all over the place.
If there’s someone who can’t stop being distracted, there’s also someone who can’t stop working all the time. Time Out now saves the day of workaholics–allowing them to remember to take a break if things are getting hectic. With the tagline, “You deserve a break”, Time Out offers customizable breaks that you can configure, depending on the time you want to spend on it. It also provides a “Display notification” button if you want to be notified during a break or not.
ZenPen is a simple, minimalist online writing note. This awesome tool allows you to beat distractions with its blank, distraction-free interface. Here, you can write notes, articles, and even input links for reference. If you’re a writer who likes to focus on writing in the midst of distractions on the web, then this tool is for you.
You can now plant a tree whenever you focus! Forest is an interactive app that allows you to grow forest as you stay focused–take note, your precious greens will die if you don’t stay focused–don’t let it happen by continuing to pay attention to important things!
Use one tab at a time
If you’re thinking that having multiple tabs at the same time will help you focus–it won’t. Having all these tabs at the same time won’t only divide your attention, you’ll also have the tendency to forget what needs to be done. To avoid tab clutter, it’s best to open a tab–finish what needs to be accomplished, then open another if needed.
Hide your phone
Silly as it sounds–hiding or leaving your mobile phone in another room while you work will always help you to stop checking those notifications and the latest TikTok videos. If not possible–you can utilize the “Do not Disturb” button and customize its schedule–you can set focus time whenever you’re working, reading, or studying.
Exercise and meditate
Exercising and meditation can’t just make you physically healthier, it can also help your mind stay focused and productive. Exercising has a lot of mental health benefits, such as improving sleep, enhancing mood, and lessening depression. While exercising can help improve muscle and aerobic capacity, meditation is all about relaxing and taking a break–which can help your mind to keep things slow and take a breather.
Practice, practice, practice
Humans are bound to get distracted–our brains are meant to wander and think of a lot of things all at the same time. The good news is–that we can always modify our experiences to change the brain and how it functions (Thanks to neuroplasticity!). Practicing and letting your mind stay focused through routine will help your brain get used to it–and eventually, it will come out naturally. Practice staying focused by feeding your mind (Read books and practice consistent learning), make a schedule, set boundaries, and set to-do lists. Your brain will thank you for it–and yourself, too.
Distractions are a huge part of our lives–they will always be there. But with the right management and proper approach to it, we can take action and execute plans to improve it. With the help of the right mind setting and effort, it’s possible to minimize distractions to avoid them–leading to a more efficient and excellent work done.
Stay productive with PlatoForms
Get rid of the manual and embrace the new–make online PDF fillable forms with PlatoForms to stay productive. With its features that will allow you to complete online PDF forms easily, you can create forms that your teammates and customers will love. It only takes a minute to sign up–do so here.