Challenge time!

Turn off your radio, switch off your phone, and shut the window, now see if you can read through this post without any distractions!

It’s fair to say that every day we all do a lot of hard work, but exactly how much time do you spend being distracted?

Some distractions may seem important, they may seem that they require an urgent response. However, just think back to the last time you had a distraction, did it really need to be dealt with immediately or could  it  have actually waited until a more convenient time? Identifying time-sapping distractions early can save you and your company a great deal of time and money.

Consider this, on average a person works 36.6 hours a week, that allows for set breaks. According to a survey by, 15% of your time is time wasted due to distractions (This is also known as “Downtime”.) So, in reality you are only working 31.2 hours a week.

5.4 hours may not sound like a lot but, that’s around 7 and a half weeks lost in a year due to distractions!

Let’s look at the top three office distractions.

Pop-up email notifications!

You may have noticed whilst reading this Blog that a few emails have arrived. You may have even read them. Did they really need your immediate attention?

Did you know that your email provider may allow you to choose which emails you receive notifications about? Take a look in the settings area of your email system. Think about how much better it will be to only receive notification of emails that really need your immediate action.  Alternatively you could have your email monitored by a Virtual Assistant.


How many times do you find a colleague coming into your office on their break just to have a quick chat? Most of the time they will stay in your office for the majority of their break, you may as well be on your break!

So, what’s the best way of handling this delicate situation? Tell your colleague how busy you are and that you would rather meet for lunch once a week so you can then have a proper catch up.

Keep the noise to a minimum!

The printer, phones, and the radio are all major noise makers and time wasters!

That printer! Everyone on the office network uses it. It’s constantly in use and when it runs out of toner you have the distraction of everyone gathering around trying to replace it. Try and house the printer away from workspace and have two to three staff members trained in toner replacement.

Mobile phone on vibrate at the moment? You may as well have let it ring, after all whenever it buzzes you still check it. The easy solution is to turn it off, anyone that needs you can email you or phone reception, you can then get back to them when YOU are ready. If you don’t have the luxury of a reception you can always outsource to call answering service.

It’s nice to have the radio on. Maybe you feel you work better with music in the background. However, you have to consider the impact it has on your speed of work. Your brain is always processing information. If you are trying to write that document and the radio is blaring out an advert for ABC Foods your brain is listening to that advert and trying to work at the same time. Try turning it off and just see if your work rate increases.

So, fewer distractions mean less downtime and more productivity. What are your top tips for beating the distraction demons? Leave us your comments, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.