Do Not Disturb! 8 Ways to Avoid Distractions

04 November 2021

With more people working from home, distractions in the office space have taken a new form. Some even claim that staying free from distractions is harder to achieve in a place that your mind and body recognize as an area for rest. 

But apart from internal distractions, there are outside factors that are beyond our control and distract us at any time, even when there’s a deadline fast approaching. Ideally, we’ll finish everything we have to do uninterrupted but this is often not the case. Even solo entrepreneurs still have to work with other people, which are often the source of distractions. 

When we used to work at one physical office, it was our officemates and superiors who interrupted us most of the time. Now that most of us work remotely, the officemates remain the same but we welcome new characters that may or may not include parents, your partner, a roomie, your pets, or children. Another problem that has surfaced is the difference of purpose: people at the office clearly report to work while people at home have different roles to play and goals to reach. It’s a common scenario to choose between a nagging mother who wants the chores done immediately and a demanding boss who needs your work assignment right away. 

Below are some ways to let everyone in your household know that you can’t be disturbed in the next two hours or so. 

1. Let everyone know. 

The best way to avoid people while also protecting your relationship is to let them know when you’re not available to chat. Simply set your online status to “Do Not Disturb” or turn off your Active status in Slack, G-Mail, or Microsoft Teams. This sends a clear signal that you are not available for anything not urgent. 

You may also do an extra step and give a heads-up to your workgroup chat to not disturb you for the next four hours or so. It’s understandable to overthink what their reaction will be so if you do so, you may always add a little bit of humor with your “Do Not Disturb” PSA. 

If it’s a boss or superior bothering you with another major task, learn how to say no or “later” by informing him or her that you need this amount of time to finish a prior task before saying yes to a new commitment. 

The lesson is to be transparent. It will save you time, avoid conflict, and eliminate doubts among your colleagues in the online workspace. 

2. Use noise-canceling earphones and keep your door locked. 

If you aren’t able to verbally let your housemates know that you are busy at work, you could make your message clear through actions. Keep the door of your workroom locked to not let any interruption enter. Do not forget to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your doorknob.

If you are without your own room, make sure to wear noise-canceling earphones so that they’ll think twice even before nudging you for a favor. A>

You can also make use of a corkboard or magnetic dry erase board to write down your schedule for the day. Mount it on the wall for the whole household to see. 

3. Turn off notifications. 

It’s tempting to check a phone notification when it suddenly pops up, even when you’re in the middle of finishing a task. Avoid this situation from happening in the first place by turning off all notifications from distracting apps such as Instagram or Facebook Messenger. You may also set your iPhone in Airplane mode or your Android phone in Do Not Disturb mode. There is also a way in which your phone will only ring or vibrate when particular people contact you. 

4. Write down interruptions as they happen.

Gain more self-awareness by writing down the cause of your distraction every time it happens. Be as specific as possible by writing down who or what interrupted you, the reason for interrupting, and then label if it was urgent or not. This practice will give you more clarity on how a typical day in your life is carried out. Check your log at the end of the week so you have a picture of your daily actions and act accordingly such as eliminating time-wasters as much as possible. 

5. Keep your workstation tidy and clean. 

We know that clutter does not only fill your desk space, it also has the power to fill in gaps in your mind. It can get distracting and overwhelming when you see before your eyes that you still have a lot to do. If you’re worried that decluttering the space will take up a lot of time, don’t fret and just do it. Tidying your desk up will save more time in the long-term, trust us. 

Another timesaver is having storage solutions. A mesh desk organizer for desk essentials and standing desks with pull-out drawers can be helpful to store and secure items in one place. 

6. Learn how to say NO. 

It’s easy to say YES to sudden activities that will come up throughout the day when you’re working. The answer to that is simply learning the art of saying no. Yes, you want to chat with your friend who you haven’t talked to in a while or walk to the park with your roommate. This does not, unfortunately, get you the job done. So know your priorities and say no to temporary happiness in the meantime. And a no doesn’t even mean you would ignore them for the rest of the day. Once your task is done, you can go back to your friend and entertain what they need from you. Nothing gets resolved without proper communication. 

7. Assign time for check-ins, social media breaks, food breaks, etc. 

Do you know how long it takes to return to a Halloween festive mood and return? According to a study by the University of California, Irvine, it takes 23 minutes for people to return to their task after they get distracted so it’s very important to be mindful of your time. 

Commit to your time blocks. If you say 10 minutes of Facebook, then use 10 minutes. If you are unable to do so, don’t go on Facebook at all. 

8. Work efficiently or two steps ahead of everyone else. 

A pro tip is to work efficiently so that you will be ahead of everybody. When people are not working and ask if you want to join them for a break, you can actually say yes without feeling guilty because you have the free time. Remote work usually has flexible hours so when you finish your work at a time that people aren’t working yet, the chances are you’ll finish your tasks early and would have lots of free time while your officemates work. 

Standing desks have been proven to improve workflow and efficiency at your home office. It allows you to improve your posture and stay alert from head to toe while working. Flexispot has a wide catalog of height adjustable standing desks. 

One of these is the EG1-48” W Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk. It’s a classic standing desk that can perfectly fit any space. Its height can be adjusted from 28.7” to 48.4” and its loading capacity is up to 60 kilograms of weight. It has a 2-button controller to easily operate and switch from standing to a sitting position. It also has a cable management system that will make your desk look organized and clean.