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4 Min. Read

7 Workplace Distractions & How to Avoid Them

7 Workplace Distractions & How to Avoid Them

Workplaces can sometimes hinder our work. These are the top workplace distractions and how to combat them.

We build offices to improve productivity. What if your office is hurting more than helping your efficiency?

Well, it probably is! Nowhere is perfect for work as we don’t work in a vacuum. These common workplace distractions are hard to avoid. But we have practical tips to help you reclaim your productivity.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:



Co-Worker Interruptions





Key Takeaways

1. Emails

Quite a surprising start! How many times have you gotten lost in your inbox? Hours of time flies by as you end up in back and forth email strings with clients and co-workers.

Email can be a huge productivity killer if you don’t control your use. Of course, you can’t completely avoid email. It’s a primary communication for most workplaces. As a side note, Slack has the same pitfalls.

How to Regulate Your Emails:

  1. If you use Gmail, this shortcode will create an automatic shortcut to composing an email. This means you don’t need to go into your inbox to write a new email.
  2. Set aside blocks of time in your work schedule to check and reply to emails
  3. Switch off email notifications outside of those aforementioned blocks of time

2. Smartphones

Our cellphones are a hub of distraction. Text messages. Instagram notifications. Tweets and Facebook likes. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of constant distractions. The average person has an addiction to their phone - even the most productive people. So this is a difficult one to crack.

How to Avoid Your Smartphone:

  1. Use the focus mode on your phone to eliminate certain apps for an allotted time. Both iOS and Android have this function.
  2. Keep your phone on airplane mode during the day - except for emergency phone calls.
  3. Lock your phone away in a different room when doing deep work.

3. Co-Worker Interruptions

Whoever invented the open-plan office did not realize how distracting it would be. Some people can work quite well with noisy coworkers around. But most of us ignore the effects of a buzzing work atmosphere.

Co-workers can interrupt us at any time. If you’re like me, you even feel on edge at the threat of being distracted. You can’t fully relax into deep work when the dread of someone interrupting you.

How to Avoid Co-Worker Interruptions:

  1. Have a traffic light card at your desk. Green means you are open to interruptions. Red means do not disturb.
  2. Come into work earlier and do deep work before team members arrive.
  3. Try noise-canceling headphones

4. Mess

You may not notice how a messy workplace affects your mental health. It’s dramatic how a tidy desk can automatically cleanse your mind and increase productivity. Luckily, this is an easy fix.

How to Clear the Clutter:

  1. Make tidying your desk a habit in your daily routine
  2. Only keep essential items on your desk
  3. Avoid eating at your desk

5. Multitasking

Humans are not great at multitasking. And yet we always torture ourselves with juggling tasks. Be honest - how many tabs do you have open right now? Avoiding multitasking is essential for focused work.

How to Avoid Multitasking:

  1. Practice mindfulness. Being mindful involves focusing on one task at a time
  2. Don’t overload your task list so you feel you need to multitask
  3. Be mindful of the music you listen to while working. It’s best to choose music without lyrics.

6. Hunger

Hunger is a basic distraction that we often ignore. Most of the time, it’s not even that obvious. Of course, your stomach can rumble. But sometimes hunger manifests as irritability or lack of focus.

How to Avoid Hunger:

  1. Don’t ignore any hunger signs you have
  2. Have a big breakfast with sustainable whole foods
  3. Integrate healthy snack breaks into your routine

7. Meetings

Meetings are notorious productivity killers. Meetings upon meetings to talk about work without actually doing the work.

How to Avoid Too Many Meetings:

  1. Set certain days and times every week for meetings
  2. Create meeting outlines before they start so that your meetings are more efficient
  3. Set actionable homework after each meeting. You don’t need to meet again until those goals are met.

Key Takeaways

Identifying the major workplace distractions around you is the first step. We hope these tips help you achieve some uninterrupted focus.

For more productivity guides, check out our resource hub.