This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Here are 12 of the most common disturbances that you should address in your workplace — ASAP.
No surprise here. After all, the average person in the U.S. views their phone 52 times a day. And, it’s easy to understand why. We’re bombarded throughout the day with emails, texts, social media notifications, and phone calls. Additionally, we use our phones to jot down reminders, view our calendars, listen to a podcast, or go shopping. No wonder we’re addicted.
Overcoming your reliance on your smartphone is no easy task, but it’s not impossible. The tried and true methods are to put your phone on airplane mode or use the phone’s “do not disturb” function. This action can be done on both Android or iPhone. You can also place your phone in another room or leave it in a desk drawer, bag or purse.
We send out a lot of emails. How many? Well, in 2017 a staggering 269 billion emails were sent daily worldwide. That email figure is expected to jump to around 333 billion in 2019.
Like your smartphone, there’s also the temptation to stop what you’re doing and check your inbox as soon as a new message arrives. Unfortunately, if you did this all day, how could you possibly get any work done?
The easiest solution is to turn off your email notifications on your phone. You should also close any apps or web browsers containing your email. I also use an app like SaneBox to manage my inbox because it filters out the messages that aren’t important.
Take a moment and really listen to all of the noise going on in an office. People are talking, machines running, phones ringing, and doors opening/closing. That’s not even getting into the annoyances like coughing, loud snacking, or music playing.
Background noise is inevitable. If it becomes too distracting, you should invest in noise-canceling headphones or relocating to a quieter area when you need to give a task 100 percent of your attention. I’ve also found that apps like Noisli can drown-out background noise, while also improving my focus.
Like background noise, interruptions from employees, customers, suppliers, and family are unavoidable. Engineers on Quora identified, “shoulder tapping,” as one of their most common distractions.
One way around this is keeping your office door closed when you don’t want to be disturbed. For good measure, place a “do not disturb” sign on the door. If you work in an open office space, send signals like wearing headphones and being honest. If someone has a direct and work-related question, give them the answer and move on.
While in small doses a little clutter can encourage a creative mind, the fact is that a messy workplace affects your ability to focus and process information. Confusion and disorder are essentially a to-do-list that reminds you of everything that needs to be done. As such, it pulls you away from being present. Over time, this makes you more anxious and stressed.
The fix? Keep your workspace clean and organized. Toss out the items you no longer need. Place paperwork in the appropriate files. Ideally, you should put as much paperwork on the cloud as possible to reduce the number of filing cabinets. Make sure that all of your office supplies have a home and are returned at the end of the day.
I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of juggling too many tasks at once. You’re a successful entrepreneur — why can’t you juggle multiple responsibilities at once? The truth is that our brains are not capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time.
Multitasking doesn’t save time or make you more productive. It actually slows you down. “Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not, “neuroscientist Earl Miller told NPR. “You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”
Conversing with your employees, colleagues, and business partners are all essential for building a friendly and collaborative company culture. However, spending too much talking about “Game of Thrones” or gossiping isn’t just a major distraction. Hearsay, itself, can also create a toxic workplace.
As a leader, you just can not allow gossip in the workplace. It needs to be addressed and handled immediately — even if it’s something dire like letting an employee go. As for friendly chit-chat, you need to set boundaries.
Although you should know what’s going on with your business, being a helicopter boss isn’t just a distraction for your team. They also find it frustrating, unnerving and anxiety-producing.
Instead of encouraging ownership and letting your team do what you hired them to do if you’re continually interrupting them by obsessing over every detail. Just imagine that you’re in the model of a project and your boss barges in pointing out everything that you did incorrectly. How productive do you think you’ll be? Disruptions stifle creativity, self-growth, and destroys the trust between you and your employees.
It’s almost impossible to focus when your stomach is growling. Unfortunately, we satisfy this craving with junk food because it’s quick and readily available.
It takes a lot of willpower to avoid the vending machine or call-in a pizza delivery. But, you need healthier options that will eliminate your hunger while keeping you focused and energized.
Stack your office with healthier snack options. For instance, I always have almonds nearby. Whenever I feel famished, I just snack on a handful of almonds. I’ve also started looking into options like Snacknation who will deliver healthy snacks to the office.
“When it comes to culture, a lot of employers like to enforce a set of policies to encourage employees to arrive on time,” wrote Andre Lovie in a previous Entrepreneur article. “Punctuality is obviously important to consider in order to run a successful organization.”
“However, overly strict policies can be more stress-inducing. If employees are worried and hurry during their traffic-heavy commute, they’re starting off the day on a bad foot,” continued Lovie. “This can hurt overall employee morale, especially for those who travel long distances five days a week. They may be showing up to work already drained and frustrated, as a result.”
If you’re in a leadership position, Lovie suggests that you, “focus more on building a culture that celebrates employees who are productive and ‘A’ players. Strong message employers can send is that punctuality is important, but what’s more important is performance.”
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