— 9 min read

What is the one goal you have in mind when entering the office in the morning? To get work done. What is often the last thing you are able to finish? The things you have planned for the day. If this scenario is something that you have recently encountered, then its time to beat procrastination and look for solutions.

We have all had those down days when you just can't get work done. Those days when its a big effort to write one single sentence or put a finishing touch to that important report. We can't be at our productivity peak all the time and that's okay. What is not okay, is that these down days are becoming more popular in our modern workplace. No matter how much or even how little is planned for the day, we just don't seem to get work done.

Work piles up and this causes enormous amount of stress. Making few simple calculations, we can easily summarize how an average person spends his time:

  • 25 years to sleeping
  • 10.3 years to working
  • 9.1 years to watching TV
  • 2 years to watching all sorts of commercials
  • 4.3 years to driving
  • 3.66 years to eating

Unless your job is your hobby, you spend a lot of time and effort to get work done. Yet, it's often something that demands more attention and energy than originally thought of. Why? One of the reasons might be that 28% of this precious 10.3 years goes to dealing with unnecessary interruptions. According to Wall Street Journal, on average, office workers are interrupted every 3 minutes. Considering this, working in a remote team seems like a dream come true, doesn't it?

What is worse, getting back to the previous work mode takes much more time. According to Office of National Statistics, getting back on task takes 23 minutes. So, how to get work done? You need to make time for work that matters and eliminate the distractions.

Here are 10 biggest office distractions you should avoid to get work done:

10 Biggest Office Distractions - Why You Don't Get Work Done

10 Biggest Office Distractions – Why You Don't Get Work Done

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Summing up the infograph, avoid these to get work done:

1. Meetings

Did you know that 1 in 4 complain that they spend more time in meetings talking about work than actually doing it. Now, while you might not be able to do teamwork without meetings, it's possible to avoid the unproductive ones or at least save the team meetings by using the right methods.

2. Office politics

This distraction is one of the top 10 stressors at work. Almost 47% of employees feel that office politics takes away from their productivity. Minimize the effect by nurturing open and trustworthy environment. Share achievements, plans and goals with everyone and encourage open discussions.

3. Socializing with coworkers

Everything is good in moderate quantities, even socializing. Unplanned conversations can have a dramatic effect. Turns out 40% of employees feel they’d get a lot more done if co-workers would quit stopping by to chat. In these situations, I've found that honesty is the best policy. While it might be tempting to carry on the conversation, admitting you are busy yields for far better results.

4. Emails

Reflecting on your last hour, how many times have you checked your email? According to statistics, office workers can check their e-mails up to 30-40 times an hour. Answering an e-mail within 15 seconds is not a talent, its more like an insanity. If there really is a fire to put out, you can be sure they will call. So, turn off those email notifications. Every now and then, spend some time to reflect on you progress.

5. Micromanaging bosses

No surprise in there. What is surprising, is that 38% would rather do unpleasant activities, like opt for more work or sit next to someone who eats noisily, than sit next to their boss. Perhaps changing your office layout would help to minimize this distraction or going for a vacation – either way is good.

6. Multiscreen multitasking

Having 10 windows open in 3 different devices is the new norm. Achieving many small goals gives us an illusion of progress. At the same time multitasking lowers IQ by 10 points and kills productivity by 40%, according to Harvard Business Review. Now, what about closing all those unnecessary windows and focusing hard on one strategic task? Or perhaps opening only one extra window, to see which are the top 10 ways for a productive week.

7. Wrong room temperature

If the room is too cold, people spend more time staying warm than focusing on task. If the room is too hot, people spend more time fighting for staying awake. Find the balance and keep it there. Research has shown that the ideal office temperature for maximum productivity is 76 to 77 degrees (that's 24-25 degrees in Celsius).

8. Internet

The Internet almighty is a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. While it has helped to speed up the information exchange process, it also has taken our concentration ability. While 47% of employees admit to on-line time procrastination, 64% of employees admit visiting non-work related websites every day. Beat procrastination and discipline yourself.

9. Fixing other's mistakes

Did you know that 1 hour of planning could save you 10 hours of doing. It's much easier to get work done if previous steps have been carried through properly. Communicate with your team-mates, share each others plans and goals to get a better picture of what's going on. This helps to spot the challenges early on.

10. Conducting personal business

When are you most likely be booking those holiday tickets or reserving a table for dinner? Probably at the office. If there is no other way around, reserve time for personal business during lunch hours. What is more, by finding time for work that really matters will save you spare time at home.

 

Although these office distractions come in a random order, they are the biggest time-wasters. Admitting that they exist is the first step to your recovery. It might been a while since you got all your work done during normal hours, but it is possible to achieve more by doing less. It's not a matter of laziness, well maybe a little, but mostly it's about using the right techniques and tools. One such tool, if I may suggest, is our team collaboration software. Modern teams need tools that help them keep track of achievements, plans and problems. How else could you know if a certain activity is aligned with the overall objective and whether the team is working towards that objective.