Our Employee Engagement Survey found that almost 10% of employees feel they’re being constantly interrupted when doing their jobs. How can you get your job done if other people and circumstances are determined to distract you? Here’s what we think are the most consistently annoying interruptions to getting things done.
1. Here’s a new project for ya
Although the new project is, of course, work, it’s not the core aspect of your job. Apparently whoever is assigning this believes that you don’t have a real job. Here’s where learning how to say no is important. Be nice about it, but don’t be diplomatic. Explain that the new project isn’t part of your job — and you need all the time you can get to do your job.
2. That completely full inbox when you get back from vacation
You probably start thinking about it when you get off the plane. All those emails sitting, waiting patiently for you to come back and respond to them. Answering them will feel like taking a machete to the Amazon jungle — no matter how much you hack away, there’s always more.
3. Noise of all types
It’s a great thing for your city that they’re building a shiny glass apartment building. But it would be really nice if it weren’t next door, where each jackhammer rips through your skull. Or how about that colleague who feels it’s necessary to have a loud conversation on their phone in the middle of the workplace?
Psychologist and workplace-violence expert Steve Albrecht says directly talking to the person who annoys you is the solution. “I tell employees that successful people working in a professional environment should be able to give each other direct, non-personal, feedback about things that make it hard for them to do their work successfully,” he told Monster.
4. Windows updates, again and again
Sure, you just updated it yesterday but it’s absolutely essential to shut down right at this exact moment. And, oh, by the way, forget about getting any work done for the next half hour while your computer does whatever it is that it’s doing.
5. That person who always wants to talk (usually complain)
As soon as you see them walking over, you know the next 20 minutes of your life will be completely wasted. They’ll monologue for as long as they feel like while you nod and say “uh huh.” One way to go about it is being direct — “I’ve got a lot of work to do.” If that doesn’t work, headphones are a pretty clear indicator that you’re not up for a convo.
6. Meetings, meetings, meetings
Here’s an idea: let’s stop working and start talking about working! If you can swing it, skip the meeting or get it canceled. You’ll be the office hero.
Here’s an idea: let’s stop working and prove that we’re working! Let your manager know that you’re happy to report at the end of the day or the end of the project, just not right now.
8. Record keeping
Here’s an idea: let’s stop working and write down the work we’ve done! It seems like some workplaces are obsessed with data collection and analysis these days. If you can isolate it to only keeping the most vital records, you’ll get back valuable time.
By being assertive and not putting up with nonsense, you can eliminate at least some workplace distractions. Hopefully your employer will work with you to increase productivity.