How to Drown Out Distractions at Work

by Garrett Spence
7/15/2016 11:07:05 AM

Running a small business is hard work by itself. But unwanted distractions not only prevent employees from doing their best work, but also can lead them to seek employment elsewhere. 

Here are some techniques to identify the worst offenders in terms of workplace distractors and figure out ways to eliminate them.

1. Audit your Time

If you’re not sure where all your time has gone, the first step is to figure out whether your distractions are benign diversions or real time-losers. It may be that you and your team are working so hard to build up your small business that you’re not taking the breaks you need to recharge. If your employees’ attention is wandering, it may be because they need a little relief from their tasks. Start with your own work. Grab a notebook and make a note to yourself whenever you catch your attention wandering or if you’ve realized that you need to get back to work. If you can figure out when and why you’ve been idle, it may help you be more mindful and stay on task.  At the end of a few days, you’ll have a better sense of how often you’re “out to lunch,” and whether those distractions are causing significant dents in your efficiency. Plus, the activity of keeping a running diary of what you’re doing is likely to keep you a little more honest when you’re working.

2. Use the Right Tools to Cut Off Distractions

Once you have a sense of how much time you spend distracted and how much time you spend focused and productive, you can access the right tools to control and manage those distractions. Remember that distractions are multifarious—it may not be Facebook or your news feed that’s distracting you but your coworkers stopping by to chat or someone blasting their music a few cubes over. A good first step is to buy a good set of headphones (especially noise-cancelling headphones) to send a signal to coworkers that you’re not to be disturbed but also to block out annoying or distracting sounds from elsewhere in the office. If a coworker insists on interrupting you constantly, stand up to signal that you’re about to leave or, better yet, give them work to do so they won’t be so eager to come jump you again. Whatever it is that’s kept you off your game, take the time to access the right tools to address the problem.

3. Eliminate Distracting Websites

There are lots of applications to limit your visits to distracting websites including Leechblock for Firefox and StayFocused for Chrome browsers. Both extensions will help you set up your most common distractions and time-wasters and then remind you to get back to work when you try to visit them.

4. Eliminate Distracting Applications

Depending on the tools you access every day for your small business, you may want to do simple things like full-screening your apps so you won’t see other windows behind the one you are working in. There are also other tools designed to minimize distractions, such as distraction-free writing tools. While you’re at it, you might want to turn off those evil notifications that provide constant distraction and pop up over your work to steal your attention.

5. Offload your Distractions

If you just can’t stop distractions from catching your eye, you can at least prevent them from stealing your time right this second. Keep a “procrastination pad” by your desk or on your computer where you jot notes about distractions as they come. That way, you can forget about them for now and come back to them later on.

Additional Resources to Help Grow your Small Business

White Paper

How Mail Services Help Entrepreneurs Succeed

In today's mobile economy, digital entrepreneurs often work from varying locations. While this can help save money and increase agility, it comes with one big drawback:

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants Provide a Competitive Edge

Countless small business owners rely on remote assistants or offsite receptionists to help with critical organizational duties. While some are content to offload simple tasks to self-employed, stay-at-home support people, others demand more comprehensive services...NULL

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants & Remote Assistants: A Comparison

While the traditional virtual assistant is likely to work from home, an executive-level virtual assistant is part of a greater brick-and-mortar presence. This fundamental difference opens the door for extensive training opportunities that broaden the professional's support capabilities.

Read More >
White Paper

Overview of Virtual Offices, Executive Suites and Co-Working Spaces

Work has changed. In an age of instant communication, cloud-based applications, and workplace versatility, the era of the traditional office culture has come to an end. Providers of virtual offices, executive suites and co-working spaces have effectively liberated the nation’s work culture, adding dynamic and energizing new choices...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 1 of 4: Introducing the SBA

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, navigating the tricky terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a major challenge. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs and operators have access to one of the most effective resources in the worldwide market...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 2 of 4: Starting a Small Business

Navigating the complex terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs have access to one of the most effective resources in the world via the Small Business Administration (SBA).
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 3 of 4: Managing a Small Business

Congratulations! You have gotten your small business up and running. Now what? This part of our four-part series on leveraging the Small Business Administration to help you launch and manage a small business will focus on the operational aspects of running a business. Whether you need leadership strategies, day-to-day decision making skills
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 4 of 4: Marketing, Sales and Contracting

Understanding marketing and sales as well as the technical complexity of our Internet-driven society gives entrepreneurs a distinct advantage over the competition. This final segment of our four-part report will take a deeper dive into the logistics and philosophy of marketing and sales and their impact on your business success.
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

DIY Marketing Tools

If a business isn’t marketing, its potential customers are not finding it. Small to medium size businesses often struggle with spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing. New DIY marketing tools, however, have eliminated the need to spend astronomical amounts on online and traditional marketing. These tools
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office for Legal Professionals

Law firms (large and small) and solo legal practitioners alike can use virtual office services and spaces to run their entire legal operations or as a supplement to a home office or traditional brick-and-mortar offices. Virtual office services can be particularly useful during trial preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Finance & Tax Professionals

Finance and tax professionals, whether they work solo or as part of a larger firm, can use virtual office spaces and services to stay on top of their workloads, especially during the busy tax season. Professional virtual office spaces can be particularly useful when back-to-back client meetings are necessary...

Read More >
White Paper

Traveling Entrepreneur

As business people and entrepreneurs continually strive to grow their business, doing so frequently involves traveling around the country to attend networking or tradeshow events, meeting clients and prospects on their own turf, and getting some face-time with colleagues, contractors or employees who may operate in a remote location. Preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office Eguide

Have you ever wondered why some small businesses are successful and others are not and what do these successful companies do to gain an edge over their competition? Through our years of experience
... Click to read more

Read More >