Staying on track at work, whether you’re working in your office or from home, is hard. Plain and simple. There are endless distractions all around, just begging you to turn your attention away from the tasks at hand.
Here are a few habits you can start implementing now to stay focused and reduce distractions at work. Even if you choose one to incorporate into your routine, I promise you’ll see results.
1. Wake Up Early
I truly hate waking up early, but I’m able to get so much work done when I get started first thing in the morning. If you live with family, roommates, or a significant other, waking up before everyone else and starting your workday is a great way to reduce distractions.
Then, you can take a scheduled break from your work to have breakfast with your housemates. You’ll feel great knowing you’ve already accomplished so much (without distractions) each morning.
Plus, getting started earlier means that you might get finished earlier. Then you’ll have more time in the evening to relax!
2. Avoid Looking At Your Phone First Thing
Here’s a little glimpse of how my morning looks when I grab my phone right after waking up:
- 8:00 a.m. – I’m finally done snoozing my alarm, and I unlock my phone.
- 8:01 – 8:10 a.m. – I check and respond to any texts I got while I was sleeping.
- 8:11 – 8:20 a.m. – I check my email and stress.
- 8:21 – 8:40 a.m. – I scroll through Twitter to see what’s happening.
- 8:41 – 9:00 a.m. – I scroll through Reddit to see what’s happening.
- 9:01 – 9:20 a.m. – I scroll through TikTok to see what’s happening.
And it goes like that until it’s like 10:00 and I’m way behind schedule. Early morning phone scrolling can very easily turn into hours of distractions and putting off work. The easiest way to avoid this and reduce those distractions is to avoid looking at your phone right after waking up.
3. Schedule Regular Breaks
Taking breaks will help you avoid getting antsy or distracted while you’re working. If you know you have a short break to look forward to, you can power through your work to reach the break.
It’s a good idea to schedule your breaks at the beginning of each day. In my case, if I don’t plan my breaks, I either end up taking no breaks at all or taking too many breaks that end up being too long.
This sort of ties into the tip about avoiding looking at your phone right after you wake up. Save that scrolling time for your first scheduled break. You’ll get to catch up on the world of social media within a defined time frame without feeling bad for being off task.
4. Put Your Phone On Do Not Disturb
As I mentioned before, TikTok, Reddit, and Twitter are my biggest vices. They’re huge distractions and time-suckers. If you’re trying to get in the zone and get something done, putting your phone on Do Not Disturb while you’re working can be a huge help.
All of your notifications will still be there for you to check when you’re done working, but you won’t be distracted by them while you’re trying to focus.
If you’re worried about missing an emergency phone call while your phone is on Do Not Disturb, don’t be. At least with iPhones, there’s a feature that allows back-to-back calls to come through. You can also choose to allow calls from designated contacts to come through.
5. Use A Site Blocker
So now your phone is on silent. All good, right? Wrong. You probably do most of your work on your computer. The Internet is a dangerous place when it comes to staying on track. There are just so many cute dog videos and articles about where your favorite child stars are now out there to tempt and distract you.
Site blockers can help reduce distractions. They’re used to block certain websites or apps for specified amounts of time. They can also block the entire Internet if you need to spend some time working offline. Many site blockers will allow you to set up recurring schedules based on what each workday entails for you.
A site blocker like Freedom does all of that and costs as little as around $2.50 a month— totally worth it, in my opinion. Plus, Freedom will block sites or apps across devices and browsers, so you can’t cheat and pick up your phone to check Facebook when your laptop’s browser is blocked.
6. Let Your Friends And Co-Workers Know You Need To Focus
Responding to texts and emails takes up a lot of time and can distract you from tackling your to-do list. If you know you need a chunk of distraction-free time to get something done for work, send a quick message to your friends and co-workers to let them know.
They’ll likely be more than understanding, and they’ll wait until later to send you messages that aren’t super urgent. This leads to our next tip…
7. Share Your To-Do List With A Co-Worker Or Friend
This one is all about accountability. If you chat with a friend in the morning and tell them about all the things you need to accomplish for work that day, you’re more likely to feel the pressure to achieve those things. As a result, you’ll probably be more motivated to power through and ignore the usual distractions to get your work done.
You’ll feel so great when you check back in with your accountability buddy at the end of the day and tell them you checked off every item on your task list.
8. Create A Dedicated Workspace
Whether you have an in-home office or just a corner of your bedroom with a desk, it’s so important to designate a place in your home as your workspace. If you can, make sure this space is as distraction-free as possible. Here are a few things you can do to reduce distractions in your workspace:
- Take the TV out of the room. If the TV needs to stay, make sure it stays turned off.
- If you’re working at a desk in your room, make your bed in the morning and resist the urge to lay back down on it.
- Use organization tools like file folders and shelves, so you spend less time looking for things you need.
- Close the door. If you section yourself off from the rest of your environment, it’s easier to stay focused.
Having a dedicated workspace will help you feel more productive and organized overall. If you eliminate as many distractions as you can in your space, you’ll be able to knock out your to-do list with no problems.
Conclusion: There Are Easy Things You Can Do To Reduce Distractions At Work
I hope this list of tips helps you stay focused and get your ish done. You’ll feel amazing when you can say you made it through an entire workday without giving in to distractions, and you’ll have a completed to-do list to prove it!