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Controlling Distractions Can Improve Productivity

by | Jun 18, 2021 | Best Practices, MyTek Blog

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Technology, while being a wonderful tool for productivity, cannot work miracles. At the end of every day, we are still humans who are prone to distractions that even technology can’t prevent. During the workday, distraction can lead to wasted money and time, because distractions easily turn into unproductive behaviors. Let’s take a look at how to minimize distractions in the workplace.

How Distractions Impede Productivity

It has been found that the average American worker will get distracted from their work every 11 minutes. After they are distracted, it can take up to 25 minutes to refocus on their tasks. This really adds up and creates wasted time and funds for your business. When it comes to more complex tasks, it can take even longer for your employees to refocus.

When you’re paying your employees to work, you obviously will want them to get as much work done as possible during their day. Therefore, the employer should work out ways to help their employees from getting distracted in the first place. The first step is admitting that distractions have become a problem, then you can look for steps to resolve these issues. Now, let’s look at the two different types of distractions: external and internal. 

Identifying Internal and External Distractions

While most distractions are negative components, it is important to know the difference between internal and external distractions so you can figure out how they influence the productivity of your team.

External distractions are all over the place. This includes phone calls, emails, instant messages, pop-up meetings, and other similar day-to-day distractions. These distractions happen often and even when we don’t expect them to, which forces the user to shift their focus away from what they are currently working on. While external distractions come from external sources, internal distractions are ones that the user creates themselves. This includes mental blocks, inability to prioritize tasks or weigh options appropriately. 

Internal distractions can come up if an employee has too much to do and doesn’t know which they should work on first or prioritize. These internal distractions can also be the stress connected to planning on what they will do next, instead of focusing on what they should be doing at that moment. 

Eliminate Options

Your employees should not have too many options of what they should be working on. This will just cause extra time going into what they think they should be doing, instead of spending that time on just working. Give them specific projects so they are not spending extra time figuring out what they should be doing.

Set Limits

Just like you give your employees specific tasks to do, you can also give them specific time limits. If they don’t finish something by a certain time, tell them that they should move on. This will stop them from deliberating on the best thing to do or stop them from spending too much time on one specific task. This might even cause them to be ahead of schedule, because time boundaries can be motivating to your employees.

Control your Environment

Make sure your employees are allowed the environment they need to focus. Some need music, while some need silence. Never prohibit your employees to listen to music in their headphones, as long as it isn’t becoming too distracting for them. 

These strategies will hopefully help your team with distractions in the workplace. MyTek puts out weekly blogs with tips and tricks, so come back next week to read more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tim Tiller, LMSW

 
Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.

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