American offices have changed a lot over the past few decades. Things have gone from a clear hierarchical structure with closed offices and conference rooms to open-air cubicles to finally open-concept offices. Office design changes with the times, giving up things that don’t make sense from the past while ushering in the new and innovative. There’s just one problem with modern offices – they are full of distractions. How can you learn to work and focus despite all these modern distractions?
99% of workers say they are distracted on a daily basis. Open offices are great for collaboration, but when it comes time to hunker down and work independently there’s often nowhere quiet to go to get the job done.
These difficulties affect different generations differently. Gen Z and Millennials work better with others and don’t usually find noise or music to be a distraction, but Baby Boomers report less productivity in a noisy open space. In fact, Baby Boomers are three times more likely to be unable to concentrate in an open office.
Working remotely because of the pandemic has created a whole new set of problems. Distractions at home are things like dishes piling up in the sink or neighbors stopping by because you are home, but those aren’t the only reasons we are feeling distracted more lately.
Lack of sleep is a major factor in distractibility, and with the stress of the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn that has led to massive job losses, many of us aren’t getting the sleep we need to feel rested and ready to tackle another day. Instead, we are sleep deprived, stressed out, and easily distracted because of factors outside of our control.
There are a few things we can do to lessen the distractions during these trying times:
- Turn off notifications and use an app to prevent them from popping up if that’s not enough to deter you
- Create an office space in your home so that work happens in that one place
- Make lists and check things off as you do them – that little bit of motivation goes a long way
- Take a 15 minute break every 2 hours to refresh your mind
Learn more about focusing despite distractions from the infographic below.