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5 Tips to avoid distractions at work and stay focused

The average weekly time spent on the internet increased by 15 hours between 2005 and 2020, reaching 24.9 hours. These hours can have a big impact on how much work you get done.

Have a look at these tips and see if you can make a few changes in your life to stay focused.

Back to basics

There is no time like the present to go back to basics. This may sound very obvious but a little planning can go a very long way. Recent research has shown that compiling a to-do list for your day or week can make you more productive. Keep your list somewhere visible throughout your working day for not only you to see but others too; it may stop you from being interrupted when in the office. Try not to have a to-do list too far in advance as this could easily turn into a distraction in itself and become a source of much stress and this is what we are trying to avoid.

Limit interruptions

We understand it can be very difficult to avoid some interruptions but can control some of them. Having time away from technology can feel almost impossible these days as work and home life is full of tech but with a little willpower, it can be done. Phone and email notifications are a constant interruption with them pinging all over the place so try muting these for a period of time throughout your day. This will give you head space to focus. Try making it a set time, i.e. an hour in the morning and afternoon and you may amaze yourself with just how much you can get done. People can also be a constant stream of interruption so you need to be assertive and say you are busy but can make time for them later in the day and then go ahead and book an allocated slot with them. People are great at saying it will only take a minute but we all know 99% of the time it doesn't take a minute and it can soon turn into half an hour or more and then throws your whole day out.

Avoid multitasking

Being able to multitask is a great skill to have but sometimes it can impact your productivity throughout your working day and therefore can cause you to go way off schedule. Yes it may feel, at the time, you are being super-efficient but underneath it can lead to more errors occurring and can then take twice as long to get anything done.

Work out your time in blocks

Going back to the idea of planning and to-do lists, have you ever tried working in time blocks? 'Time-blocking' is the art of allocating a certain amount of time to a task. It is great if you are in a role, like project management, where there are deadlines for various parts of the project. These can be added to a shared calendar so others can see when you are blocked out and therefore cannot be interrupted or other members of the project team can see where you are up to. Being on the calendar also reminds you of how your day and week are looking and can be used as a reference for billing a 3rd party for your time for example if you do consulting work.

Make time for breaks

It may sound bonkers but yes breaks are good for productivity and can help you be distracted from work. Taking regular, short breaks away from work has proven to increase productivity. It gives you and your brain time to re-set, re-charge and carry on. Try going for a walk, having a stretch, or having a snack. Make sure you set a timer or you could well lose track of the break!

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