Whether you work from home or you work in an office, you know the dangers of distractions at work all too well. They taunt you and follow you around, pester you when you think you’ve squashed them for good and tug at your consciousness like the devil on your shoulder. It’s no secret that millennials are labeled as the most distracted generation, and for good reason: we are bombarded with technology and overstimulated by the vast amount of information waiting at our fingertips. Not all of your distractions at work are concerned with technology, however, and there are actually a variety of other types of distractions that frequently cause the mind to wander and get you off-track.
So, what can you do?
Fortunately, we’re well-versed in all the top distractions at work and can walk you through simple, no-brainer solutions to avoid all of those pesky distractions at work. No judgement here: we’re distracted right now! For all the best tips and tricks for how to avoid distractions at work (both at home and in the office), keep reading — we guarantee you’ll find something useful (or, at the very least, humorous).
Is there a cute bird out the window?
A cute person out the window?
A flight to Europe calling your name?
Do you frequently catch yourself wondering what it would be like to just get up from your office chair and walk out? Wonder what it would be like to turn around and look at your coworkers from the other side of that window that you sit beside and daydream out of day after day?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), we can empathize! We’ve thought long and hard about this workday distraction and we’ve come up with a few different solutions for you.
How to avoid windows
Suggestion #1: Locate a piece of construction paper — there’s got to be some lying around your workplace, somewhere — cut the piece of construction paper in half (either way, it really doesn’t matter), and carefully tape the construction paper halves to the sides of your face.
Now you have blinders.
You can’t be distracted by the cute, little bird or your hopes and dreams melting in the hot, summer sun outside your window if you can’t see it.
Suggestion #2: If that doesn’t work, simply remind yourself that there is nothing more important than the phone calls you have to make to prospective clients or the emails you must send to potential customers. Seriously, someone has to do it.
Keep it up.
Suggestion #3: If neither of these first two options have any effect, our last suggestion for how to avoid windows is akin to exposure therapy. To follow this suggestion, simply get up from your office chair and walk out. Your response will tell you all you need to know.
#2 Susan, Karen & Sharon (AKA the chatterboxes, the busybodies & the scandalmongers)
The second most common distraction at work is the little voice that comes out of nowhere whispering about Janice’s breakdown over the weekend or Jasper’s binge-drinking.
Sure, Susan, Karen and Sharon can give you the scoop about Matthew in Accounting, but do they know anything about that progress report you have to complete by noon or your presentation for the boss tomorrow?
Nope, they don’t.
What’s more is that Sharon just loves to sing/hum/beatbox that same song every day at 3pm.
How do you make her stop?
Fortunately, we’ve dealt with our fair share of Susans, Karens and Sharons and we know how to handle them.
How to avoid Susan, Karen & Sharon
Suggestion #1: Do not go to the bathroom the entire workday.
Seriously, hold it.
If they can’t trap you in the bathroom to gossip about the weird thing Daniel does while he’s sleeping, then you can’t be distracted by them!
Suggestion #2: If that doesn’t work, you could always pretend you’ve forgotten who they are.
Try it out — you’ll be surprised by how well it works!
Next time you pass by Susan-Karen-Sharon in the hall, just simply look straight ahead and say NOTHING! Whatever you do, do not make eye contact. This will only encourage them to wind up their chatterbox and spill out all their juicy half-truths.
Do NOT get them started.
They probably won’t stop.
Suggestion #3: Headphones.
They’ll get the hint eventually.
(One would hope.)
#3 Personal Side Projects
Been writing a novel for the past three years on the side? Plan on starting your very own (insert-what-you-do) business but better? Have the next big app — certain to bring in millions and give you the recognition you deserve — just waiting patiently in your mind to be created?
We get it.
Who doesn’t have hopes, dreams and aspirations outside of their 9-5 job?
Luckily, we’ve got it all figured out to help you squash those dreams (AKA distractions at work), so you can fill out that Excel spreadsheet in peace.
How to avoid personal side projects
Suggestion #1: Burn them. Go home, gather your laptop and your frantic notes scribbled on Post-it® notes and your prized personal projects, take them to your backyard fire pit, dump in some lighter fluid, light a match and watch it burn.
Can’t be distracted by personal projects if they don’t exist, right?
Suggestion #2: Set aside designated time on the weekends to work on them.
You don’t need to go to Kelly’s bonfire this weekend or Bobby’s brother’s Bar Mitzvah — what you need is to organize your passions so that they may coexist with your financially-stable office job.
#4 Social Media (duh)
OK, so we probably should have placed this distraction as #1 — because, seriously, who doesn’t check their Instagram or Facebook AT ALL throughout the day?
No one under the age of 35, at least.
Did Jenny just post birthday pictures from last weekend? Did Ezekiel invite you to his baptism? Did Kristen from high school just post a super long-winded “poem” referencing something you may or may not have done way back when?
How dare she — but now is not the time to get involved!
Take a breath, and follow these simple steps to avoid social media distractions at work.
How to avoid social media
Suggestion #1: This upcoming weekend, go to the closest large body of water to you. Take your cell phone, get a nice, solid grip on it, and chuck it as far as you can into the water.
Done and done.
Suggestion #2: If that doesn’t work, you could always snooze your social media notifications or mute your phone while you’re at work.
#5 Your Own Body
Are you hungry?
Need to go to the bathroom?
Have a headache?
It’s so irritating having a body, isn’t it? Don’t you just wish you could do away with it? Hang it up on a coat hanger and not have to wear it every single day?
Don’t worry — we can help!
How to avoid your own body
Suggestion #1: Convince yourself you don’t have a body.
Close your eyes, breathe in and out for ten breaths and meditate on the concept of no-self.
The Buddhists got it right, that’s for sure.
If you can convince yourself you are body-less, you’ll be able to laugh instead of cringe when you hear those almost constant stomach growls, because you’ll know there’s no possible way the sounds are coming from you!
Suggestion #2: Drown out your screaming bodily functions with jazz.
Go to YouTube, type in “jazz for work,” and there in front of you will be hours and hours and hours of soothing chaos to distract you from the battle raging inside your belly.
Joe might be able to hear your uncomfortably loud bodily functions, but you won’t!
(For the more frantic of us, we recommend techno music.)Suggestion #3: Drink coffee. Go to the bathroom. Repeat once an hour until the workday is over.
And there you go!
Simple, easy-peasy, no-brainer solutions to the top 5 biggest distractions at work. We’re experts on office distractions and interruptions, as well as working from home distractions, and we’ll never lead you astray.
**NOTE: This post is not intended to be used as a workday distraction. Distractions at work are no laughing matter and should be handled with the utmost caution and concern.
This post was written by Kara Roberts, blogger and content writer for Sincerely Silver. We specialize in creating custom made jewelry in sterling silver, gold and rose gold and have been featured in a number of publications, including Glamour. For gift ideas and personalized jewelry creations, check out our blog!