Chatting, Facebooking, And Tweeting: How To Beat Distractions At Work

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November 8, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

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Do you find that some days, you just don’t get anything done at work? And by the time you get into gear, it’s time to clock out? Distractions can thwart productivity. And one of the biggest distractions is technology.

People spend lots of time at work chatting on IM services, checking Twitter or updating their status on Facebook. In fact, a new study found that social media distractions at work could be costing the U.S. economy $650 billion per year — or $4,452 per company.

And even when you log off, it takes time for to get back to work. According to the study, conducted by Mashable, it will take you 23 minutes to get back on track.

Catching up with the latest office gossip and bringing problems from home can also eat into your day.

The Washington Post recently interviewed Robert Pozen about how to boost productivity. According to Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, there are practical lessons  to increasing productivity. The general philosophy of these lessons is that you should focus your time on your most critical goals. So first, you have to identify and rank your priorities based on your own skills and desires as well as the needs of your organization. Then you clear away the lower priorities with as little headache as possible. Finally, you perform your high-priority goals more efficiently by quickly reaching tentative conclusions, instead of spending days or weeks researching basic facts, Pozen tells the Post.

In order to prioritize however you need to define your goals, he adds. Determine which are long-term versus short-term, then rank the longer-term goals by importance. Then figure out what you have to do more immediately, taking into account what your boss wants and what the business needs, Pozen explains.

And of course, keep your personal online activity to a minimum. Checking social media on your lunch hour or during 15-minute breaks is fine. But if you’re spending too much time on Facebook, all the prioritizing in the world can’t help.

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