How to be Productive in a Distracting Environment
For the first time in our lives, many of us are working from home, working from a rented office space, teleworking, or otherwise working away from our normal professional workplace settings. Transitioning to a new type of distraction-free work environment can be challenging, and might even threaten your productivity if you’re finding it difficult to focus and eliminate workplace distractions. Minimizing distractions, organizing your workspace, creating a productive environment, and training your productivity are easy solutions. The difficult question is “Where to begin?”
The Physical (External) Environment
While not all of us are our most productive selves in the same type of work environment, we can each find our highest level of productivity in our most ideal workspace. For many workers, this includes a space that allows for movement, accessibility, cleanliness, and flow from task to task to boost energy levels and focus. This could start with the computer and desk space you’re using, and include factors like the computer you use, the music you listen to, the amount of natural light in the room, the chair you’re sitting in, the equipment used for phone calls, and the internet performance you are connected to. Creating an efficient and comfortable office environment is an important step to improving your day-to-day. Investing in basic upgrades like a comfortable chair, wifi extender, digital phone solution, white noise machine, or desktop document organizer can make a world of difference in reducing clutter, improving focus, and getting you settled into your workspace. All these little steps go a long way in creating a focused work environment that is distraction-free, encourages productivity, all while keeping you comfortable in your seat. Other upgrades might be less obvious. If you’re working from home, you might relocate your desk to a new room in the house, or just a corner of the room a little closer to the window. Other personal upgrades like a desktop plant, a small smart speaker for background music or ambient sound, or a new pair of noise cancelling headphones can help you
eliminate some of the biggest distractions and improve your productivity. If at all possible, try to keep the physical clutter to a minimum!
Internal Environment and Focus
Even more important than your external organization, is your internal organization. Not only have you been asked to work and remain productive in an uncertain, and likely noisy office environment that is not optimal, work environment, you’ve probably also been asked to continue tackling big projects, contributing creative ideas to your team, or reaching out to new clients. These additional activities can contribute to internal distractions. If your internal environment is chaotic, chances are your professional output will be as well. You can avoid productivity loss by evaluating and optimizing your internal environment as well.
Many people are the most productive when they stick to a routine, and some do best when they have a written or virtual schedule that they can reference. These are both great ways to make your workflow intuitive, without having to spend time each morning wondering where to begin. Freshen up your workspace in a way that makes you feel creative and relaxed, and approach your workday as the challenge it is. Recognize that while the world is changing, you are capable, valuable, and resilient. View your upcoming challenges as opportunities for growth, and try not to fixate on uncertainties in the world around you. Meet each day with optimism and organization, and the rest will fall into place.
Getting organized is the key to taking on both daily and long-term tasks without intimidation and added stress. Once you’ve created a schedule for your day-to-day tasks, make sure that your computer and workspace are set up to be conducive to productivity. Setup a distraction-free environment and allow yourself the time to do an initial cleanup of your workspace, reducing the amount of clutter on your desk and sorting both physical and electronic documents. Messy environments be gone!
If a clean and organized workspace isn’t available where you are, you might consider looking into rented office space. As the professional world continues on a more virtual trajectory, and public health issues close more and more large office spaces, shared workspaces and co-working spaces are increasing in popularity. Whether you want your virtual background to look cleaner, more organized, and more professional, or need to rent a quiet, uncluttered space to work, there is likely office space available for rent by the month, day, and sometimes by the hour, near you. Office Evolution in Clark, NJ provides a safe, flexible and professional workplace for every budget.
Teach Yourself How To Tackle Big Goals
When you’re overwhelmed by a big project and working from a new workspace, completing the project might seem impossible. Without your colleagues and professional mentors to brainstorm with, knowing where to begin might take an additional step in the planning process.
Every big task can be broken down into smaller tasks, and there are a couple of ways to do that. When considering your task or work goal, consider the timeline first. Determine what you need to have complete, and when. You can then use backward planning to help you widdle down a series of subtasks, putting them to a projected timeline. For example, if I want to have a novel written in twelve months, I might set a goal to have 10 chapters written in six months, then determine how many chapters I want to have written by month 3, then determine how much time I want to allow myself to develop a plot, characters, and outline beforehand.
Others do well turning their big goals into to-do lists, with no specific timeline in mind. If you’re the type of person who has the discipline to meet deadlines without backward planning, organizing your to-do list might be enough. Leave a little room in your daily and weekly schedules to chip away at big-goal subtasks creatively, without time restraints or the pressure to meet strict deadlines.
The Little Things Can Become Big Distractions
When you feel like you’ve optimized your desk, computer desktop, the room you work in, and your internal environment, and can’t quite figure out what’s hindering your productivity, check on the little things. Things like subtle noise from the clock, a pet, or the apartment above might still be producing a distraction-rich environment and noise levels that may be pulling your attention away from your workflow. Finding a comfortable room temperature, a breeze, and the right amount and quality of lighting can also make big differences and add inspiration to your workflow. There are no rules against relocating your workspace to the beach, your outdoor space, or a park for the day, in order to switch things up and stimulate creativity.
As we roll into the one-year anniversary of working from home for many of us, the little things have already begun to have long-term effects on our productivity and our happiness. Remember to occasionally get up from your desk and move your body. Try starting your day with a few minutes of yoga, meditation, or positive affirmations for the present moment and what’s ahead. Go for a quick walk around the block in your neighborhood.
Remember that only you are in charge of your mood, your comfort, and where you choose to focus your energy.
Challenge yourself to be better, but don’t forget to prioritize self-care and good mental health.
Office Evolution Clark offers flexible office space for rent in Clark, NJ. We offer a safe and professional work setting to minimize distractions in your work day. Schedule a free tour today.