Workplace Distractions

Robin Fogel, a fellow Executive and Career Coach, recently published the following in her monthly newsletter and granted me permission to share it here. To learn more about Robin visit,

Whether it is the workplace or life in general, our modern existence seems to demand that we get more done. Yet while we are being asked to accomplish more, there are also greater distractions. Multitasking was originally praised as one solution, a way to accomplish more, a way that we could be more efficient. Recent scientific findings are now reaching the opposite conclusion; multitasking is not making us more productive, in fact it may be reducing productivity. Now, in a new book by Maggie Jackson, “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age“, the author writes that constant interruptions have hurt workers’ ability to focus. She says that, “roughly once every three minutes, typical cubicle dwellers set aside whatever they are doing and start something else”. She writes that these constant interruptions consume as much as “28% of the average US worker’s day, including recovery time, and sap productivity to the tune of $650 billion a year“.

While the costs to businesses are enormous there are personal costs as well. A recent study found that those workers who are regularly interrupted expressed greater frustration, and felt greater pressure and stress over their inability to get their work done.

Ms. Jackson wrote that if we “jump on every e-mail or ping; we’ll have trouble pursuing our long term goals”. So, as you read this article, if you are also checking your voicemail, talking to a
co-worker or toggling between websites, remember that it is the ability to focus and complete one task at a time that will increase your productivity and have you feeling less frustrated. And remember to close your office door, if you have one, for some uninterrupted work time. Turn off the email alert beeper on your computer, and make it clear that you are not to be disturbed unless there is a true emergency.

The late Peter Drucker, author of “The Effective Executive”, once wrote, “To be effective, every knowledgeable worker, and especially every executive needs to dispose of time in fairly large chunks…to have small dribs and drabs of time at his disposal will not be sufficient even if the total is an impressive number of hours.”

About The PriorityPro
Natalie Gahrmann, an international expert, empowers professional women to ignite their passion, demonstrate personal leadership and exude greater confidence. Her background in business acumen and leadership development is instinctively applied through 1-1 coaching, workshops and keynote presentations. She can help you gain clarity, focus and direction so that you accomplish more of what's important to YOU!

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