How to Minimise Distractions at Work

Too many distractions make it impossible to concentrate. How can you minimise them and find your focus?

Studies show that once you've been distracted by something, it can take up to half an hour to regain your ability to concentrate on the task in hand. It's hard to focus on more than one thing at a time, so if you find yourself constantly being distracted at work, it can affect your focus and productivity. You need to find ways to minimise the distractions so you can get on with the important things.

If you're reading this at your desk, look around you – how much clutter is there on your work surface? Untidy desks can be a real distraction, if your eyes are constantly drawn to the objects around you. Try to create an in- and out-tray system for jobs and keep any stationery neatly organised in a pen holder. The less there is visible on your desk, the better.

Next, try to limit the interruptions from technology. Perhaps tell yourself you will only check and reply to emails and messages once every couple of hours. In the meantime, mute the computer and the smartphone so you won't be distracted by the ping of incoming notifications. If you can, take yourself off somewhere quiet and try working 'offline' for an hour – good old-fashioned pen and paper will do for many tasks.

Finally, learn how to manage your time. Plan your day in advance and section off blocks which will be dedicated to a particular task, starting with the most important. It might be worth asking your manager if they can implement a 'quiet hour' during the day, giving you and everyone else a chance to focus.


Distractions disrupt your concentration
Try to keep your workspace tidy
Limit interruptions from technology
Try to spend some time working 'offline'
Learn to manage your time