Leadership

Email overload, Twitter updates, monster slippers... Top 10 ways to avoid distractions at work

The secret is to keep colleagues at bay and do a job you love...

...co-creating so it's a much more collaborative culture and there are great things about that. But it also means people are much more likely to want input and to seek input and to ask for it," Eastwood said.

Open-plan office environments seem to make it easier or more acceptable to interrupt someone and such interruptions can be highly disruptive and can make it difficult to get into the flow of work.

According to Eastwood, one way to solve this problem is to ask colleagues to send you an IM if they need to speak with you. That way you are still open to collaboration with colleagues but you can choose when to break off from your work.

4. Have unavailable times

If asking colleagues to IM before interrupting doesn't work, set out times in the day when you want to work completely free of interruptions. For this to be successful, you must also let your colleagues know when they can and can't contact you.

"Having times when you are available and then protecting times when you don't want to be available does work, provided colleagues know there is a time. Experience is that they will generally respect the non-available times," Eastwood said.

"Some people do find it quite difficult to say, 'Not just now' and I think being able to do that is a skill."

Creating boundaries at work and managing expectations of your availability to colleagues is necessary in ensuring you have time to focus on your work, according to Philip Bardzil, a chartered occupational psychologist at business consultancy Impact Consulting.

According to Bardzil, it's important workers "do not become overloaded by either irrelevant interruptions or unreasonable demands which override previously agreed deadlines and objectives".

5. Make email-free time zones

Just as you should try to avoid interruptions from colleagues, reducing interruptions from emails is also important in allowing you to maintain work focus.

"I think we learn nowadays to be interrupted all the time and actually there's a lot of research now that says multitasking is in the end less effective. Sometimes we have to retrain ourselves to focus on one thing at a time," Praesta's Eastwood said.

Instead of constantly going back and forth between a task and your emails, which may then lead you to work on a different task, try to...

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