You go to work every day and spend eight hours at your job. If you work at a corporate office, you are privy to how open offices have come to dominate the way our workplaces are built. Not just there are plenty of other reasons why modern workplaces are becoming a hub of distraction. Simultaneous use of social media, as well as expectations of instant and incessant availability through channels such as Slack and WhatsApp, prevent professionals from getting into a flow state as easily and frequently as they would like to.
In the wake of this problem, no wonder you feel less fulfilled, less productive and more drained at your workplace. A professional development coach can immensely help you become aware of the habits that are pushing you back and propel you to develop a healthy work ethic. Let’s take a look at some actionable tips you can apply right away to reduce distraction and be more productive at work.
1. Practice online hygiene.
As a knowledge worker, your biggest asset is your attention span, and you must guard it and enhance it because the social media industry is trying hard to rob you of it. The best way to do this is to practice online hygiene. While you work, stay away from social media sites and avoid multiple open tabs to reduce brain clutter and overwhelm. You can also use site blocker extensions to block certain sites that distract you while you are at work.
2. Create pockets of time to work in.
Batch working is by far the best way to try and get yourself in a state of flow. Divide your day into high productivity, distraction-free, deep work zones of 90–120 minutes, where you focus on only one task, which ideally should be a cognitively demanding one. Treat these pockets of time as sacred and non-negotiable when it comes to the quality of work. The idea is not to squalor away precious willpower in performing low-value tasks (answering emails) during your most productive hours. Rather, use these blocks of time to create areas of focus and flow.
3. Establish boundaries and communicate respectfully.
If there is one thing that can drastically reduce distractions, it is the ability to say ‘no’ to certain people and things. Boundary setting, hence, becomes a highly essential skill that you must develop. Communicate in advance to that noisy co-worker that you are working on an important project and wouldn’t want to be disturbed. Or let your manager know that micromanaging your time may not be helpful if they want any serious work done.
Resist the urge to join every coffee break. You won’t come across as less likeable if you communicate properly.
4. Avoid multitasking
One of the many reasons why most of our clients find it hard to be productive is that they often get trapped in a vicious cycle of multitasking. It gives you the impression that you are busy, but it’s hardly productive and leads to a lot of stress, grossly affecting the quality of your work. We know it may feel like you are smart enough to multitask, but trust us, multitasking reduces your ability to go in-depth and causes massive anxiety because you are continuously trying to switch from one type of work to another. Multitasking has been linked to burnout, memory issues and even depression.
5. Embrace deep work and slow productivity
We, at Quality Mind firmly believe in each one’s potential to excel and experience fulfilment in their work. It is something that no one should be deprived of. But there’s more to achieving this state than mindlessly hustling. Slow productivity is a term coined by author and professor Cal Newport. Slow productivity essentially means the ability to consistently get important and meaningful stuff done without burning yourself out with unimportant and urgent trivial tasks. It’s not to say that the urgent must be ignored. But you can become aware of the nature of each task and become good at compartmentalising them in your brain, as well as your calendar, so you can make space for the state of flow.
We stand at the cusp of AI, and how we perceive work and productivity is changing at a rapid pace. As a modern worker, you have choices and ease, but you also have distractions and overwhelm. A key aspect of success then becomes your ability to navigate these distractions while keeping your mental health intact. That’s what will make any work or career worth pursuing.
At Quality Mind, our mind mentors will help you do just that. We are here for you every step of the way. Be it professional development, workplace coaching or improving relationships within the team, we want to help businesses and professionals be their best selves without neglecting their human needs.
If you are dealing with workplace-related stress and loss of motivation, we are just a call away. Book your free discovery call right now and experience the support you deserve.