At work, we are constantly bombarded with distractions, emergencies and quick questions. There are many studies on the side effects of being interrupted and all point to the same conclusion – being interrupted while performing tasks slows you down and decreases your efficiency. Here’s how to help assure that doesn’t happen.
Shut your door. This isn’t rocket science, but shutting your office door for short periods of time will significantly cut down on quick questions and minor interruptions. Even if you do not have an office door to shut, you can still take steps to cut down on the “stop by” interruptions. To make this work you need to create a sign that you can hang on your door or outside your cube. The sign should read, “Unless this is an emergency that has to be corrected immediately, please come back when my door is open.” It also helps to notify those most likely to just pop into your office that from time-to-time for about an hour you will be closing your door and politely request they don’t knock or come in.
Turn off email and social media. If you are like most people at work, your email pops up a little notification every time a new email comes in. This can be very distracting. Having that notification pop up does help you manage your workflow, but at a cost. The truth is for most jobs, rarely is any email something that requires a reply any faster than an hour. If you need to work on a project that does not require email, turn it off. Also if you are working online, turn off your social media networks to avoid the temptation of taking micro-breaks and checking your status. By shutting everything else out and focusing just on the task at hand you will complete the task faster and with higher accuracy.
Leave your office. Periodically throughout the week you should be leaving your office to go work somewhere else for short amounts of time. This can be at a local coffee shop, park, anywhere other than the building you are employed in. There are several benefits to changing the scenery you work in: you are more creative, you get time to think while walking to your off-site location, and you get away from common distractions in the office. By putting yourself in a new environment, with the intention of going there to work, you are putting your mind into an elevated state of production. Avoid treating this like a casual trip out of the office. Instead make it purposeful and you will see some amazing results.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.