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5 Strategies for Limiting Distractions During the Workday



Our world is filled with distractions. With a near-constant bombardment of emails, texts, and online notifications, it's amazing that anyone gets anything done during the day. This is compounded by general household activity when you work from home.

That challenge may have you looking for ways to limit distractions at home so you can get your work done. Here we'll look at why that matters and explore strategies to help you stay focused and productive when working from home.


Why You Should Avoid Distractions


No matter how many tasks you have, they are more digestible when done one at a time. The human brain is designed to handle only one task at a time, so forget about whatever multitasking skills you have been working on. You will be more productive, and your work will be of higher quality if you focus on one task at a time.


Unfortunately, turning off every distraction that saps your time, energy, and focus is impossible. However, there are ways you can manage them to reduce interference. Use the following tips to get started.


1. Time blocking


Think of time-blocking as setting appointments for your daily tasks. This strategy works by dividing your day up into blocks of time. This can be customized based on how many and what type of tasks you have on your to-do list.


For example, you spend the first 30 minutes of your day checking and responding to emails. When that time is up, close your email until it's time to recheck it after lunch. This frees you up from constantly turning your attention to new messages.


Time blocking is an excellent tool for limiting home distractions since it gives your family a guide to what you are doing and when. This lets them see when you need to be undisturbed and when they can send a quick text to ask a question.


2. Limit Background Distractions in Virtual Meetings


Working from home has many advantages. For example, you have no commute. Plus, working from home makes it easy to keep an eye on things there. However, all those things can become a significant distraction during virtual meetings. There are a few ways to approach this problem.


Many home-based workers choose to blur out their backgrounds. This puts the visual focus on you. However, it doesn't remove everything happening behind you. Another option is to use a custom virtual background. This eliminates distractions while also establishing a professional appearance.




3. Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode


Today's phones serve as mini-computers that can go anywhere you go. The possibilities for them are nearly endless. However, instead of granting people freedom, cell phones and their notifications often serve as more of an anchor.


If you notice that you are constantly checking your notifications and messages, it's time to take a break from your device. Here are a few ideas that might help you break the habit of peeking at your screen:

  • Turn it to mute and put it in a drawer

  • Set a schedule for checking it, like at the top of every hour or between scheduled tasks

  • Disable non-work notifications

  • Leave it in your work bag

4. Get Inspiration From Productive Coworkers


If staying productive and focused is something you struggle with, take some time to notice how your coworkers handle distractions. If you have more trouble than most, now is an excellent time to ask them for advice. This is a great time to recognize your limitations, overcome them, and grow professionally.


Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. Many people would be excited to share tips for things like how to limit distraction during the workday.




5. Take Refreshing Breaks


Working non-stop may seem like a great way to get everything done. However, the exact opposite often happens instead. Just because you get into a rhythm and are making excellent headway on a project does not mean you should be consumed by it. Failure to take breaks can leave you with tunnel vision and drain your creativity.


Luckily, there is an easy fix for this problem. Stop every hour or so to take a five-minute break. Do a few stretches at your desk or walk around. Sitting on a bench outside to soak up some sun can help you feel rejuvenated and give you the energy and focus to get back to work.


Distractions disrupt your focus and diminish productivity. This can be compounded when you work from home, and regular household activity is happening around you. Try implementing strategies like asking coworkers for advice, using a custom background during virtual meetings, and allocating each task a set amount of time. Additionally, taking short breaks throughout your day can help you feel refreshed so you can better focus on the task at hand.


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