Office chitchat, an overflowing email box, cell calls—they can all suck up precious time. Some 42 percent of workers are on the job early or stay late to avoid or compensate for distractions, according to a recent survey by Workplace Options. A better solution, says CEO Dean Debnam: “Find a way to balance your workday and maintain focus.” Here’s his advice.
Be polite but firm.
Try to save casual conversation for lunchtime and breaks. “If you’re stopped in the hall, be direct about your pending deadline, imminent meeting or picking up your child from day care rather than stopping to chat,” Debnam says.
If you have a task to complete that requires major focus, you may want to remove yourself from your usual work environment, especially if you don’t have a private office or space. If you have an office, shut your door for periods of time so you can plow through a project.
Set your cell phone on vibrate or silent so you are not interrupted but can still screen calls. Save Facebook for after the kids are in bed. And remember that you don’t have to answer all your emails before you leave the office. Prioritize and let the subjects guide you, then clear your in-box tomorrow.