If you are drowning in a gazillion of emails, your smartphone is ringing like crazy and your calendar looks like a colorful Christmas tree, then you are just like many other people working in the office. How to stay organized and get things done? How to be productive and happy at the same time?
Below you will find five main distractors that kill your productivity and some tips on how to deal with them and better organize yourself while managing all the office tasks:
We all deal with hundreds (thousands?) of emails on a daily basis. Some of them are urgent, others are just a typical spam. Use your time wisely. If you can, disconnect your mailbox and keep your focus on the urgent tasks. Then get back to your emails at a certain time during the day, say at 2pm. If you cannot afford that luxury of staying disconnected, just set up a pop-up for urgent emails only and keep your attention elsewhere. Emails can be nasty, they keep us distracted all the time. Don’t let that happen. Be productive!
Everyone will agree some meetings are necessary. Most of the time, though, they are simply time eaters. Make sure you have a clear agenda of your meeting. Review the number of participants and see if you have the right people to have a meaningful conversation. Are 30 minutes enough? If you constantly extend your meetings over time booked in people’s calendars, you may lose your audience at some point. The same applies to never-ending discussions after which there is no outcome. Stick to the agenda and stay away from side topics. Make the owners accountable for their actions. Cancel the meetings which won’t be attended by the main speakers. There’s nothing worse than wasting other people’s time. And yours. Of course.
3. Side talks
People working in the office tend to spend too much time discussing things which are not specifically related to the work they are doing. We are not joking. That’s the fact. We all have that one colleague dropping by to say “hello” who stays there forever and talks about his/her last weekend / holiday / gym / date (you name it) for hours. Ok, maybe not hours but still. How to get rid of such a person? Be polite. Let him know that you need to finish off with something extremely urgent. If you’re really interested in his stories, make time during your work day and go for a 15-minute coffee. Maintaining good relationships at work is also important.
4. Phones / smartphones
Nowadays, when your smartphone is like a mini computer where you manage all your data, it is hard to leave it aside when you are not on a call. Texts, social media, images, emails… you just can’t help yourself and you compulsively check for new updates on your little device. Stop it. Focus on more important tasks and set aside some time to play with the phone when you are less busy, i.e. when going for coffee.
5. Social Media
Yes, you know we are right. Switch off Facebook and Twitter during working hours. Remember the old saying “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it applies here as well. Not able to stay away from social media all day long? How about you use it during your lunch time? One hour of scrolling, liking and posting should be enough… Just saying…
And you? How do you deal with these distractors? Any special tips we could learn from you, too? :) Feel free to share!