Anyone who works in an office will agree that there’s nothing more exasperating than being disturbed at work.

You finally have some time to sit down and do that report that’s been waiting for you. The deadline is looming and you need to get it done now. You complete all your tasks, prepare yourself mentally for working on the dreaded report over the next hour and off you go.

You’ve just entered the zone, you’re focused, and things seem to be flowing…when suddenly your phone rings.

Dilemma – do you let it go unanswered or do you jeopardize your carefully planned out work session by answering it and watching all your plans plummet and crash into  an abyss of wasted time?

By now you’ve lost your focus and you answer the call, then somehow you find yourself checking your inbox (again) and it takes a while for you to get back on track. Then, there’s someone at your door asking for a minute of your time….and on it goes.

So, how can you deal with distractions in the office?

Set rules and keep them.

  1. Check your emails in the morning when you get into the office and once again after lunch. Don’t keep going back to your inbox during the day.
  2. Restrict your online time – even if you have to use social media for work make sure you don’t check your private social media more than once a day.
  3. Determine work time and set a timer for your “session”. Ask someone else to answer your phone calls, even your private phone, and only put the call through if it’s an emergency.
  4. Make sure all email, chat and call notifications are switched off on your computer and phone while you’re working.
  5. Jot down your ideas and thoughts as they come up so you don’t waste time trying to remember them later.
  6. Keep your desk tidy – that way you won’t be disturbed by your own clutter.
  7. If you work in an open office – use noise-cancelling earphones.
  8. If you have an office – shut your door when you need to concentrate on your work.
  9. Make sure other people in the office know that you cannot be disturbed for a friendly chat or even anything work related until you’ve finished your work. If they know when you will be available to help them they will leave you alone.
  10. Don’t forget to eat and keep hydrated – don’t let hunger disturb your work.


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