Most people work a full day, but only a fraction of their time is spent chipping away at their task list. The number one reason why? Distractions. They come in all forms, from email, pop-up notifications and social media, to instant messaging, impromptu meetings and a disorganized workspace.

According to Gloria Mark, an information scientist at the University of California, for each distraction you encounter, it takes approximately 26 minutes to regain your concentration and return to your initial task. For kicks, tally up the number of interruptions you experience in the average workday and multiply it by 26 minutes. That’s how much time you spent on unplanned activities. Scary when you break it down.

We live in a world that’s wired to distract us. But, with a bit of planning and personal discipline, you can avoid its time traps and get a lot more done! Here are 12 tips to help you minimize distractions and increase your productivity at work:

1. Go into work 15 minutes early and plan out your day.

2. Create a daily task list and cross things off as you go.

3. Use your commute time to make calls and get updates.

4. Avoid scheduling back-to- back meetings; leave time to debrief.

5. Create scheduled timeframes for checking and responding to email.

6. Turn off pop-up mobile notifications during work hours.

7. Avoid lengthy instant messaging conversations.

8. Organize your desk, folders and action items to maximize efficiency.

9. Send texts and check social media during break times.

10. Schedule time in your day to address unexpected items.

11. Create boundaries that enable you to focus on the task at hand.

12. At the end of the day, update your task list with any new items.



about the author

Vicki Spencer

Spherion Marketing