In case you weren’t aware, it’s the holiday season! There’s a million things to think about: gifts, parties, meals, decorations… and that’s on top of everything you already deal with every day, from kids to commutes to grocery shopping. With all those distractions, it’s no wonder a Career Builder survey found 45 percent of businesses have a compromised quality of work in distracted employees. A third of employers have lower morale, thanks to employees frustrated that they have to pick up the slack for someone else who isn't doing their job.
What can you do to stay on task at the office? It’s not always as easy as simply putting your phone away and making sure you have comfortable work station. Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re getting the job done.
Create a to-do list and stick to it as much as you can. Write down (literally: type it up or even grab a pen and paper) everything that’s on your plate — every project you’re assigned, every group you’re part of. Then decide on the top three and get those done first. When all three are complete, pick another top three. If a new project comes along, add that to your full list and keep going. Revisit the list every day or every few days, maybe Monday morning when you walk in the door, or Friday afternoon before you walk out. With a priority list, you know what really needs to be done, and when.
Instead of looking up every idea you have at the moment you have it, or answering emails and texts as they come in, pause when you’re done with an activity. Finished that page of the spreadsheet? That’s when to reply to emails. Stick around after a meeting for a few moments to find the research you need for your next meeting.
Of course you want to socialize with your co-workers, and it’s all too easy to fall down an internet rabbit hole on to a web page you didn’t search for. But too much of that, and you’re not getting work done. You can probably find a quiet, solitary place to work — the lunchroom in the early morning or late afternoon? — or even use online tools that block inessential web sites.
Some of these ideas may not apply to your work situation. But whatever method you use, the goal remains the same: avoiding distraction without slowing you down.