woman getting distracted at work with her phone

Why You’re So Distracted at Work

Feeling unhappy or distracted at work is something that I hear so many of you often grapple with, and it can be incredibly debilitating depending on how deep the struggle goes.

Today, technology and our access to the outside world is more widespread than it ever has been before. But despite how great technology can be in terms of our jobs, when it comes to social media and the connection that many of us have to our phones—no matter where we are or what we’re doing, technology can sometimes hinder our productivity at work by distracting us with constant reminders of all of the things that we wish we could be doing instead…

FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is this week’s topic on Episode 081 of Productivity Paradox and it is actually one of the biggest causes that can lead to feelings of unhappiness or distractedness at work… In fact, studies have shown that nearly three quarters of young professionals have reported that they have experienced this feeling in the workplace – which is huge, right?!

In order to combat the uneasiness that comes from FOMO, it’s important that we learn how to avoid distractions on the job so that we can make room to cultivate happiness through productivity instead. So today, I thought I would share with you a few ways that you can flip FOMO on its head and stay present, focused and engaged at work.

Let’s get started!

How to Avoid Distractions at Work


1. Shut the Door –

quiet office space for no distractions at work

If you work in an office that allows you access to your own door, I encourage you to close it when your day calls for immediate focus on a task at hand. Not only does this allow you more control over the noise level and distractions in (and outside of) your office, but it also sends a message to your colleagues that you’re unavailable and to check back in with you at a more convenient time.

Don’t have an office door? No problem! Often, hanging a note up on your cubicle or desk, or even investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can go a long way when it comes to lessening distractions in the workplace… Give them both a try.


2. Silence Your Phone –

woman silencing her phone for better focus at work

Understandably, completely turning off your phone can be a challenge… This is especially true for those with school-age children or other personal commitments that might need your attention during emergencies. That’s okay!

The important takeaway here is that, when it’s time to buckle down and get to work, our mobile devices seem to have a habit of throwing a wrench into our plans when we aren’t careful… So, it’s important that we learn how to minimize distractions caused by our phone as much as possible in the workplace!

If turning your phone off for the entire work day is not an option for you, try to schedule in pockets of time where you can check in to make sure you haven’t missed any important phone calls, respond to any necessary texts and the like… For me, checking in during my lunch break or during a short 5-minute break at the water cooler can be a huge game changer when it comes to minimizing how distracted I feel.

While complete ‘radio silence’ is often a great way to nip distractions in the bud, placing your phone in Do Not Disturb mode during specific blocks of time is also a powerful tool to combat feelings of FOMO.


3. Stop Checking Your Inbox –

checking email at scheduled time to allow for less distractions at work

Gosh, can you even remember the days before emailing became commonplace?

Incessantly checking our inboxes—even when we aren’t at work—is such a common practice today that we often don’t realize just how much time we actually waste by checking in and out of our email accounts every minute of every hour…

The key here? Keep it simple! Minimize FOMO when it comes to email by planning for a specific pocket of time during your workday that is dedicated to checking and responding to emails.

If you’re someone who receives a multitude of emails during the day, regain your focus for the top items on your priority list by limiting the number of times you allow yourself to check into your email account… Once in the morning and once in the afternoon is a great starting point!


4. Organize Your Workspace –

organized workspace helps with interruptions and distractions at work

Visual distractions at work can be a huge hindrance when it comes to our happiness and productivity… And often, our desks become home to a variety of visual distractions each and every day that leave us feeling frazzled and unmotivated.

So how do we take care of this? Simple: Get organized!

If you are someone with a lot of paperwork each day, create a tray for incoming work and keep only the immediate project you’re working on front and center. Not only will this help to lessen the distractions from items farther down on your priority list, but it will also encourage you to monotask—a huge stepping stone in terms of the quality of work produced and productivity overall.


5. Take Breaks –

woman taking a tea break at work to help distractions

A great way to limit distractions at work? Take short breaks!

There’s only so much that our brain can take before our focus falls to the wayside… And in these situations, it’s important that we understand that we do not need to be working non-stop, around the clock in order to be productive.


Whenever things start to look blurry and you’re finding it especially harder to concentrate, I encourage you to get up from your desk, make yourself a cup of coffee, or take a short walk around the building… By allowing our brain a few moments of reprieve from tasks that demand complete focus, we can reduce the likelihood that we will experience bouts of FOMO throughout the day while increasing our productivity at the same time.

If you have any ideas of your own on how to stop distractions at work, I would love to hear them! Be sure to share in the comments below… And check out Episode 081 of Productivity Paradox this week to learn a little more of the science behind FOMO so that you can learn how to recognize the signs and nip it in the bud when it matters most!




turn FOMO (fear of missing out) into JOMO (joy of missing out) with these tips for daily productivity. Stop feeling so distracted at work from social media.

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton