Avoid These 5 Distractions in the (Virtual) Workspace

November 9, 2020

By: Brandon Cohen

"Whether working virtually or in an office setting, it’s impossible to work without distractions popping up. The key is to know how to avoid them."

Avoid These 5 Distractions in the (Virtual) Workspace

By: Brandon Cohen

We all know how it goes. You sit down at your desk, ready to complete a major project. You’ve been looking forward to finishing this project all week, and the time has finally come to knock out the final steps and hit that glorious submit button. Then, those pesky workspace distractions inevitably hit. They always do. Whether working virtually or in an office setting, it’s impossible to work without distractions popping up. The key is to know how to avoid them.

When push comes to shove, that watercooler talk or the video of a cute otter won’t give you the same gratification as a big thumbs up from the boss and the sweet, satisfying feeling of completing your project without stressing all the way to the finish line.

These tips walk you through how to avoid distractions in the workspace and reach peak efficiency.

Make Your Workspace, YOUR Workspace

This may sound straightforward, but it is surprisingly not. If you’re working virtually, you must understand the struggle of attempting to get work done while lying in bed or sitting reclined on the couch with a cat on your lap. There are spaces conducive to work, and there are places that are…not.

While not everyone has the finances or the space to fit a desk in their apartment or home, finding a spot to make your workspace -and ONLY your workspace-is key to avoiding distractions.

Your brain will associate the space with getting your work done, anyone who lives with you will know that you’re in the zone, and you won’t feel any distractions from anything going around you, as you’ve chosen a strategic spot.

The cat may still follow you into the room, but you can always get a cat laptop too. ?

Now, not everyone is working virtually. If you’re in an office, you may have a cubicle, a desk, or another workspace that’s your own. But is it really your own? If not, it’s time to make it yours. Add some personal touches and decorate your workspace so you feel comfortable while on the job. Feeling more relaxed and at home will lead to feeling more inspired to get your work done.

Plan Out Your Workday

Maybe you don’t like looking at your Google Calendar and seeing five different meetings, but there’s good reason to use a calendar to structure your workday.

Forbes listed five ways successful people structure their workdays, and it’s worth a read. Among the five:

“Scientists have found the peak time to drink your coffee to get the most out of your caffeine buzz is between 9:30 and 11 a.m. As a bonus, caffeine junkies don’t have to worry about brewing themselves a second (or third) cup of joe.”

That’s right, some of the most successful people find a specific time in their workday to drink their coffee! You don’t have to feel bad about your caffeine high, and you can know when that ol’ cup of joe is coming.

Regardless of how you choose to structure your day, the mere practice of doing so will give you direction for the day, eliminating the “what should I do now?” time that leads to distractions.

Rather than falling down a YouTube rabbit hole or spending far too much time at the watercooler (be it virtual or in-person), you’ll know when your meetings are, which projects you are working on and when, and you’ll avoid those pesky distractions.

Embrace Distractions (On Your Own Time)

We know what you’re thinking. How is adding breaks to your calendar going to make you avoid distractions? Breaks are distractions!

Well, you’re not wrong, but there’s a science to it. Building breaks into your day, whether you’re working virtually or in person, will give you an idea of when you can take care of the silly things you want to do throughout the workday.

Rather than checking Twitter every five minutes because you can, you can wait until the next 10-minute break you allotted in your schedule to do so. Trust me; the tweets can wait.

Additionally, other distractions that come up throughout the day now have specific times to be dealt with, so you won’t be sitting at your desk wondering when you’ll be able to take care of them.

Start scheduling breaks in your calendar at intervals that work best for you, and embrace the distraction during those times. They’ll be your little rewards for getting your work done. ?

Know Where All Your Work Is

Let’s be real. If we asked you to locate a document for one of your main projects right now, there’s at least a 75% chance you would go through 15 different tabs, 12 different Google Workspace products, and the entire history of your documents folder as well, right?

It seems like the perfect time to get distracted because no one wants to be shuffling through their life’s work to find one thing. Luckily, there are tools that help organize the actual work you’re doing!

Project management systems such as Asana and Monday are great for teams. Multiple people can work together to organize projects that are all happening at once.

However, staying organized is key, so it’s essential to also utilize cloud storage and organization platforms. Bublup provides you with a space to keep all of your content together in one place, meaning you can keep your documents, notes, MP4s, PDFs, and more all in one folder, with or without your colleagues.

Having one central folder to go back to whenever you’re unsure of where you left that important document will keep you on track and help you avoid distractions that tempt you during a busy workday.

Find What Works Best For You

While these tips will help lessen the distractions in the workspace, no tips are universal. Maybe you’re someone who finds it helpful to listen to music while working, or perhaps you find it very important to get your work done as early in the workday as possible.

There are so many different ways to help yourself avoid distractions!

Did you know that not taking a lunch break can impact how much work you get done? ProjectManager.com wrote about the importance of a good lunch break, detailing:

“However, it is well documented that employees, and even the whole organization, can benefit when employees take a break to eat lunch. HRMorning reported that one study found that 90 percent of employees who take regular lunch breaks are more productive than those that don’t.”

See, even lunch should be included in your distraction-free schedule, and it will increase your productivity!

Recognizing that distractions are constant is key, and finding a routine that minimizes them will help you be more productive than ever.

These tips provide you with a great place to start but keep tinkering with your workday until you find a schedule that’s right for you, and soon enough, you’ll be getting that big promotion; we just know it. ?

About the author

Brandon Cohen is an editor and poet based in New York City. In his free time he enjoys all things arts, spending time with his cat Bella, and eating far too many sugary foods.