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10 Reasons You Never Get Anything Done at Work

If you’ve ever gotten bored of being bored at work, maybe you can relate to the guy who got caught flying a drone around the office.

Or the one who was drinking vodka and watching Netflix. Or the guy found asleep on the CEO’s couch.

These are all real examples of the bizarre things people do — instead of their jobs — while at work, a new study from CareerBuilder says. But through interviews with more than 2,000 hiring managers across the country, they found the biggest productivity killers are the ones you’d expect…

  • Cell phones/texting (52 percent)
  • The Internet (44 percent)
  • Gossip (37 percent)
  • Social media (36 percent)
  • Email (31 percent)
  • Co-workers dropping by (27 percent)
  • Meetings (26 percent)
  • Smoke breaks/snack breaks (27 percent)
  • Noisy co-workers (17 percent)
  • Sitting in a cubicle (10 percent)

If you’re looking to boost your own productivity and maybe win a raise, there are easy ways to overcome almost all these distractions. Here are our favorites…

1. Schedule your breaks and lunch

If your workflow allows it, take your down time consistently. Don’t skip breaks or push back your lunch, which can leave you hungry and unfocused. Pick times that make sense and stick to them.

It’ll give you a psychological boost, too. If you know lunch is at noon,  you’ll more naturally organize your tasks to get something specific done by then, and leave yourself a logical place to pick up where you left off. If you just keep working until you run out of steam, you’re more likely to make mistakes and feel stressed and confused when you come back from a break. And those time markers give you discrete chunks of time to finish tasks, which makes it easier to ward off all kinds of distractions.

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2. Be mindful of the Internet

We all know the Internet is a black hole of vaguely interesting news, games, and discussion — it’s all too easy to spend half an hour skimming mundane Facebook updates about where people are, what they’re eating, and what stupid text quotes they’re feeling inspired by. But knowing is only half the battle — the rest is having the willpower to stop yourself.

If you don’t have that, try browser plugins like Strict Workflow (Chrome) or LeechBlock (Firefox). They help you block yourself from distracting websites until times that you set.

Email is another huge Internet distraction, but one you may not want to block yourself entirely from if a lot of your company business is conducted over email and you’re expected to give timely responses. Instead, try to carve out a specific time to respond to emails — maybe half an hour every four hours, or maybe five minutes at the top of every hour. That way you aren’t constantly dropping everything to fit into somebody else’s workflow.

3. Get in tune with your work

Noisy coworkers, coworkers randomly dropping by, and office gossip are all on the top 10 list of distractions — and the best solution for all three is headphones. Find a suitable work playlist or make your own. You’ll find you focus better and time goes by faster with good music on. The big bonus: Most well-adjusted coworkers will see you’re off in your own world and leave you alone unless they actually need your attention.

 

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