16 Tips for Reducing Distractions at Work (With Importance)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 7, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you're working in an office, from your home, or in another location, it's easy to get distracted at some point during the day. Keeping yourself focused while working can be challenging, but it's something you can accomplish by forming habits that eliminate distractions. Learning more about getting rid of distractions in the workplace promotes better overall productivity for yourself and other employees and allows you to get your work done more efficiently. In this article, we explain the benefits of staying productive and share a list of ways you can avoid distractions at work.

Why is it important to eliminate distractions at work?

If you're experiencing distractions at work, it's helpful to address this issue. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of staying focused and productive while at work. Here's why this is important:

Increases productivity

Eliminating distractions can increase your productivity at work. This can help you feel more accomplished. Being consistently productive can help you meet work goals and advance your career.

Related: 14 Best Productivity Tools to Boost Workplace Productivity

Helps you establish work routines

When you can stay focused throughout your workday, your routine may be easier to establish. This is because you can predict how productive you are throughout the day. Distractions are often unexpected and difficult to plan around, which is why keeping your focus can help you establish a work routine.

Provides better work-life balance

If you can maintain a more productive work schedule, it's often easier to manage a healthy work-life balance. This is because you can work more consistent hours. If your work is goals or quota-based, being productive can also help you work fewer hours.

Related: Why Work-Life Balance Is Important (With Benefits and Steps)

16 ways to reduce distractions

Here are some ways you can work to reduce distractions in the workplace:

1. Create a daily schedule

Create a daily schedule by creating a to-do list for each shift. This can help you focus on specific tasks and plan your day so you can remain productive throughout the shift. Creating a daily schedule can also help you develop your prioritization skills, which can help with career development. While working, try to follow your daily schedule as closely as possible. This can help you organize your day by the specific tasks you want to accomplish.

2. Create timed goals

Consider creating timed goals to support your daily schedule. This means that you can set a specific goal based on the time it may take to complete a task. You can work this into your daily schedule by arranging each task to have a specific timeframe in your routine. For example, you might allocate three hours to the creation of a logo.

Related: 9 Traits of High Performers (And How to Become One)

3. Complete your most challenging tasks first

When creating your list of goals each day, consider completing the tasks that may take the most effort at the beginning of your workday. This is a great time to complete the more challenging tasks and leaves room for you to complete the simpler ones later in the day, when it may not be as easy to focus for long periods of time.

4. Set a series of small goals

Setting small goals for yourself throughout the day can help you manage tasks more effectively. Consider taking a larger goal that might take you half a day to complete and separating it into smaller objectives. Creating smaller goals and forming a step-by-step process can help you complete the larger goal. This allows you to focus for shorter periods of time than if you were attempting to accomplish the goal all at once, which gives you a chance to have more frequent breaks.

5. Plan what time you want to stop working

If you stay focused throughout your workday, you can shorten the amount of time on your shift. Plan what time you want to stop working by consulting your employer's schedule or, if you have more flexible working arrangements, you can choose what time you want to complete work. This can help motivate you to stay productive throughout your shift. Meeting this goal and avoiding distractions so you can leave work at the designated time can help improve your work-life balance.

6. Know what might distract you

Monitor your activity throughout the day and recognize any repeated distractions you have. Some common distractions a professional may experience include:

  • answering e-mails and text messages

  • scrolling on social media pages

  • playing games on their cellphones

  • talking to colleagues

  • experiencing noisy work environments

  • eating while working

  • attending meetings

  • daydreaming about non-work topics

Discover what your common distractions are and make a plan to avoid them. For example, if you feel distracted by a noisy work environment, you might use noise-cancelling headphones to help you focus.

7. Establish a comfortable environment

Feeling comfortable while you work can make distractions less likely. Depending on where you work, the level of comfort you can achieve may be different. If you work from home, you can set the temperature to a level that makes you comfortable and wear clothes that you'll feel relaxed in all day long. If you're working in an office environment, you can bring in items that help you feel relaxed, such as an oil diffuser or a lamp that provides good lighting.

Related: 10 Important Components of an Ideal Working Environment

8. Rest

It's essential to get an adequate amount of sleep in order to operate properly during the day. Allowing yourself time to refresh at night and getting a full night of rest helps your brain to be fully functional in the morning. This can help you concentrate on your work.

Related: The Importance of Health and Safety in the Workplace (Benefits and Tips)

9. Consider meditation

Meditation helps the mind to let go of distracting thoughts so that you can focus. Try taking a small break from work and giving yourself a few minutes to focus on your breathing. In a quiet location, sit down and slowly breathe in and out while counting to a number of your choosing. While counting, try to eliminate any thoughts that come into your mind.

10. Use visual reminders

Sometimes a visual reminder can help refocus your brain. This can be something as simple as putting a sticky note that tells you to focus somewhere in your work area. Whatever visual you choose, try to make sure it's easily visible so you see it often as a quick reminder to stay on task while you're working.

11. Take breaks

Taking breaks can be very beneficial to the overall quality of your work output and allow you to eliminate distractions. Consider giving yourself a quick break every hour to allow your mind time to do something other than focus on work. You can go for a walk, have a snack, stretch, read a chapter in a book, or listen to some music. Setting a timer can help you track your break so that when the timer goes off, you're done with your activity and going back to work.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Breaks At Work

12. Reward yourself

Sometimes delayed gratification helps people get their work completed more efficiently. You can do this by choosing something to reward yourself with after finishing your biggest goal of the day. Whether this is ordering your favourite lunch, giving yourself a 30-minute break to watch a TV show, or allowing yourself to enjoy time on your cellphone, think of something that helps to motivate you to complete your work so that you can enjoy your reward.

13. Clean your workspace

Keeping a clean workspace can help you reduce work-related stress and feel more productive. This can also allow you to rearrange your resources so they're easily accessible. Try to keep your work area free from clutter and ensure that the environment in which you work makes you feel comfortable and productive.

14. Turn off app notifications

If you work in an office environment, you might get a lot of e-mail and text notifications throughout the day. Consider turning off all notifications on your computer so that you don't get tempted to pause your work and check your e-mails. You can check them during one of your scheduled breaks or build time into your daily goals that allow you to check and respond to all messages.

15. Understand when your most productive hours are

Many professionals have a certain time frame in which they feel the most productive. For example, some professionals feel more energized in the afternoon than in the morning. Recognize your optimal hours for production and try to complete the majority of your work during this time. This can help you avoid distractions and feel more productive.

Related: 13 Jobs with Flexible Hours (With Salaries and Definitions)

16. Make healthy choices

You might find it easier to focus at work if you're making healthy choices regarding your exercise and diet. Try to eat foods that have nutritional value to increase your focus and energy level. Ensuring that you feel well when going to work can also help increase your likelihood of being productive. If you don't feel well, consider taking a sick day from work.

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