Creating a Productive, Distraction-Free Workplace

July 5, 2012

The following blog post is the final post in a four-part blog series about Peter Bregman's book “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Rights Things Done.”
By: Kathryn
In this final blog based on Peter Bregman's book, “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Rights Things Done,” I'll examine the last section of his book on how to deal with—wait, what did you say? Hold on, I have to take this call – distractions. We all have those co-workers who want to tell you every detail about their evening, or the boss who continually assigns you projects that needed to be done yesterday, or the urge to play Angry Birds instead of writing a report. Bregman states there are ways to master these distractions and remain productive.
Make your workplace a productive one. Do you need quiet or some level of background noise? What type of office environment works for you? What if you work in a large, open office without cubes, where the phone rings and people stop by to talk or ask “a favor?” The solution could be to listen to music through headphones or just wear them to stifle noises (and make people think you are tuned out). It could be as simple as announcing it to the room or relocating yourself to a secluded corner to complete your project.
Also, if a coworker asks you to proof a document, assist with a project or take on a new task, don't feel like you must say yes. Saying no to something that falls outside of your goals isn't bad. You need to be selective in how you respond, otherwise your time will be spent on other items, while your structured to-do list languishes.
Personally, my distracted time comes in the afternoon. I start to lose energy and enthusiasm for my to-do list. To combat this, I try to step away from it all by walking outside, whether it is for five or 20 minutes. Just a turn around the block clears my head and re-energizes me.
So, what distracts you and threatens your productivity?

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