Making Workplace Distractions Work for You

12 Feb, 2015 |

Office guy on phone


Distractions are an inevitable part of any workplace, wether it be corporate, industrial, or domestic. While not necessarily harmful all by themselves, workplace distractions have a tendency to warp our sense of time and if not controlled, can really cut away at our productivity. The issue is more complex that it might seem for there are many mental mechanism at play that  gravitate certain people towards procrastination. Regardless of the internal battles going on, distractions don’t always need to be avoided. There are many ways to manage and even harness some usefulness out of them. Here are just a few:


Self-awareness goes a long way when you’re trying to focus on a task or problem. Being aware of your personal patterns of distraction can help you make necessary adjustments to your surroundings that place your most common distractors out of immediate reach. Instead of summoning your will-power to avoid them, its better to eliminate some of them completely. Some experts suggest that we have a limited amount of self-control to exert every day. Your productivity and willpower is better suited to be used during times when you are already in a work grove. Some managers will approach this by blocking certain websites from browsers at work, but there are many online tools that allow you to set personal time limits on sites you visit, without having to block them completely.  These filters can be programmed to keep you updated with a timer that tells you how much time is being spent on a particular website on that given day. You can set time limits that are applicable to work hours only while still allowing yourself some wiggle room to browse sites such as Facebook and Reddit  for limited amounts of time.


Now that you’ve placed a time cap on your biggest time-traps, now you can  designate time for you to mindlessly indulge in seemingly non-productive activities. There are multiple benefits to stepping away the task at hand every few hours. Wether you’re writing a report, article, or trying to tackle a major problem, taking yourself completely out of the task gives you an opportunity to come back with a new approach later on. It may seem unconventional,  but  stepping away from something allows your mind to shift gears for a bit. That elusive solution to your problem isn’t going to solve itself, but many “EUREKA” moments tend to occur after a period of brief detachment because perspective has a lot to do with problem solving, and sometimes all thats needed to make a breakthrough is a mere change of perspective.


An important part of distraction management is deciding what kind of distractions you are going to allow. While browsing social media sites can provide a break from your work, the best kind of break is one that takes you away from you desk completely.

  • Go for a walk. Doing some brisk pushups, or any other type of short exercise can get help get your blood flowing, giving your brain some fresh oxygen to as well as a fresh mindset when returning to work.
  • Read. Opening up some book  for a few minutes can also be a productive escape. Getting lost in a great literary adventure for just a few minutes can do wonders during stressful days.
  • Organize. If you’re feeling stuck on a task and can’t figure out what to do next, take some a few minutes to organize your desk or work area. Getting rid of notes and papers you no longer need. Getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your surroundings could lead you right into that pending task that you were forgetting.

Feel free to comment and discuss any particular activities that you find unconventionally helpful!

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