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Tuning Out (to Get Work Done)

Posted on July 14, 2009

Phones ringing and then people talking on the phone. The ding of emails being received and then people typing responses to these emails. Computers crashing and people cursing them out. The typical office setting is noisy and distracting. On some days it gets to the point where I?ve forgotten what it was I was supposed to be working on. Often, this is my office.

It would seem that, without having a few tricks up your sleeve to tune out the noise, the productivity of the average worker would be near the single digits because of distraction. Well, I have a few of these tricks to help me bust out the results.

  1. My number one tune-out strategy is MUSIC. Loud music. Loud enough so I can?t hear the phone ring or people talking (even to me). Yes, I am wearing headphones. And yes, the people in the office can often hear what I?m listening to, but I don?t really care. It is a small price to pay to be able to fill my timesheet with billable hours. This works like a charm when I?m in the middle of programming, preventing the stop-and-start workflow that can double or triple the times it takes to complete the code. My favorite at the moment is Kings of Leon.
  2. Leave the office. Yes, just remove yourself from all of the distractions and get out of the office. Go outside and sit at a picnic table, become one with nature. Go to your local coffee shop, order a yummy flavored caffeinated beverage and watch the work complete itself. Even if it only for a few hours, if there is something that NEEDS to get done, sometimes you just need to be by yourself.
  3. Turn off reminders. You know, those little pop-ups or ding-dongs that tell you that a new email has arrived or you need to check voicemail. Turn it all off for a few hours and concentrate on the tasks that need to get done.
  4. Close your door. Ok, this only works if you actually have a door to close. But if you are so lucky to have your own office door, use it when you need to. That?s what it?s there for.
  5. Disconnect. If all else fails, you may want to disconnect the phone and Internet for a while. It can be too tempting to take every phone call or check your email or see what the weather will be like this weekend. If you disconnect, the opportunity for you to do these things is that much harder, more easily keeping you on task.

It is a misconception that you aren?t being productive unless you are multitasking. It is easier to complete tasks if you are focused on ONE THING AT A TIME. It may not be possible all the time, but tuning out the typical office distractions may be just what you need to get your work done (and then check your Twitter and Facebook and CNN and Gmail and?).

At Moxie, we focus on our clients. We tune out the world just for them, just for YOU!


? Post written by Cristy Wiza.

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