April 3, 2017

“Do not disturb”: how to avoid distractions and keep focused

How many times have you said “OK, let’s work!” and then got immediately stopped by an email, a phone call, a Facebook notification, a person walking through the door, or all of these at the same time? Don’t worry: we feel your pain.

Every day we are surrounded by distractions. Colors, sounds, notifications… It’s incredibly difficult to find a moment of peace to just focus, and even more if you work in an open-space or simply an overcrowded office.

Distractions are not just annoying. They are costly in terms of productivity and time. Studies have shown that on average we spend 2.1 hours a day taking care of distractions. When we get diverted from the task we were working on, it takes an average of 25 minutes for our brain to re-focus.

Silence VS Noise: what works best?

Some suggest that noise is the first to blame for lost productivity. So one would think that working in total silence might be the number one solution to focus. Is it? Not quite.

On the one end, noise is distracting and creates stress. Interruptions keep our mind from what is important and it is very difficult to restart on the task we were working on.

But in some cases, total silence can be counter-productive because anything can distract us: from a car passing by, to a door slamming, to even the ticking of a clock.

Besides, noise is not the only culprit, is it? Notifications can pop out at any minute even without making noise. Even a picture on the wall can be distracting at times!


Getting in “the Productivity zone”

How can we escape the omnipresent distractions surrounding us and disrupting our work?
Here are a few tips and tricks you could try:

  • Turn off all notifications
    The most obvious one: switch off the phone, turn off email alerts, close social media tabs and disable notifications;
  • Place a “Do not disturb” sign
    Make it clear to people around you that this is your uninterrupted work time. Schedule your time with them for later on;
  • Put your headphones on
    Music can help you focus, so make sure to buy a good pair of headphones to tune noise. If music lyrics are distracting to you, listen to ambient noise, or use a white noise generator;
  • Clear your desk
    De-clutter your workspace to declutter your mind as well. Make sure you don’t have paper flying around you, things falling over you or pens to fiddle around with;
  • Change office
    Desperate times call for desperate solutions: physically move to another office to keep focused. Alternatively, go outside to work in a quiet park or similar.

Occasionally, it’s perfectly OK to let our mind zoom out and wander, especially when you do creative work: it’s when you have to get tasks done that requires avoiding distractions at all costs.
These are the tips we shared with you: now, it is up to you to find your “Productivity zone” and get more things done!


Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She’s passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don’t seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Want to increase productivity?
Join 20,000+ subscribers & get useful tips and insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Your time is priceless, take better care of it

Start managing your time in Timeneye with a 14-day trial.

Timeneye © 2021 DM Digital Software SRL - All Rights Reserved
DM Digital Software SRL - Via Rainusso 144, 41124 Modena - Italy
VATID 03895390361 - REA MO-426608