Avoiding Workplace Distractions

I don’t do well working at home. I’m too easily distracted by dust bunnies, laundry and the pile of books I want to read. Plus, at the office, I know exactly where all my files and piles are, and I seldom remember to bring the right paperwork home with me.

However, there are days, when I don’t seem to get anything done at the office and it’s because there is too much chatter or too many meetings. Turns out those are two of the top three workplace distractions, according to the results of a survey by Ask.com.

I now have an office with a door, but I try to avoid closing it as I prefer to remain accessible. However, when the volume outside the door becomes too great, it’s a challenge to work. I’m always surprised by this because when I worked for a newspaper, our desks were tight against the next desk and there wasn’t even a cubicle wall to separate the reporters. Yet, I could totally concentrate.

I’ve picked up a few habits from my colleagues to minimize distractions, including listening to music through headphones. I also rely heavily on IM for quick answers. For the most part I keep my conversations to the computer, although at least once a day, I make it a point to touch base with each member of my team. It allows all of us to concentrate and communicate when convenient.

I’m also in favor of stand-up meetings or walking meetings because they cut down on the length of the meeting. I seldom accept an invite to a meeting that doesn’t have a stated purpose. When I run a meeting, I try to stay on point by sending an agenda in advance.

What distracts you at work, and how do you cope with it?

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