How to keep a distraction free working environment

Let's face it, most of the offices aren't great for work that requires focus. Office workers are bombarded with interruptions and distractions. Colleagues are (rightfully) asking for questions, noise, notifications of emails, etc. With few office rules, we can decrease the number of interruptions and increase our productivity. Designer at Upwork made a poster that I send to the client with few kind words to soften the information. It's caring about the customer and bringing more value. You can send the same poster to your customer/colleagues/boss or print to your cubicle wall!

How to keep a distraction free working environment

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Rule #1

Headphones can be a tool to indicate when you're available for discussion. It doesn't matter if you're listening to music or not. The logic is very simple and you might are already applying it without knowing:

  • if you're wearing headphones, then you're working on something requires focus and should not be distracted
  • if the headphones are on one ear then you're working, but available for work related questions
  • if you're not using headphones, then you're free for discussion

Rule #2

People at work should not expect you to watch your email inbox constantly as it's not a real-time chat! Having a dedicated time-slot to go through email is better than having notifications on and having a constant flow of distractions. To convince other people to accept the fact, you should check Tim Ferris' blog post "How to Check E-mail Twice a Day… And Have Your Boss Accept It".

Rule #3

Oh, the worst productivity killer is a meeting where your contribution isn't needed. Paul Boag had a straight to the point blog post "I am done with bad meetings", and it included a flowchart that could prevent 90 percent of the meetings ever happening! The 10 percent are the important ones.

The rule is simple: "Think before inviting me to the meeting".

One more thing: Spread the word, not the flu and have a productive week!