Yesterday, I was in the middle of a focused work session at a coworking space when someone tapped me on the shoulder. 

“Hey Demir! What’s up man…hey I have a quick question for you!…”

I looked up and calmly said, “Hey man, no actually, I’m in the middle of something but can you come back over in 20 minutes?” 

The truth is, I could have answered his question right then and there.  

But that would set a dangerous precedent for my office culture.  That it’s okay to interrupt other people any time you want!

If you’re anything like Carey and me, then you seethe at the number of workplace distractions you face every day. 

It’s annoying…

…not to mention, it’s destroying your productivity! 

Gloria Mark, a top researcher from the University of California, studied the effects of office distractions.  She says each distraction can cost up to 25 minutes in lost productivity. 

25 minutes! That’s insane! 

The problem is, how can you politely tell your clients, boss, or colleagues to “shove off” when they have zero consideration for your time?

Office culture is hard to change, but you hold more cards than you think.

The truth is, you can use simple psychological principles to subtly re-train the people around you.

In this week’s video, Carey and I share the 5 best hacks to prevent distractions from other people. (8 minutes)

So if you have a colleague who just LOVES to come up to your desk and tap you on the shoulder…

….or if you’re sick of getting “urgent” emails from your boss or client who expects you to drop everything at a moment’s notice…

…or if you feel like you can’t draw boundaries at work – listen here! 

Leave us a comment sharing your own hacks for preventing distractions at work and at home!

This subject has SO MUCH more for us to discuss then we could fit in an 8 minute video, so we’ll be LIVE on Facebook going deep on this topic.  Click here to view the live video. 

Additional Resources:

  • Naomi Cogger

    In addition to these five I block time for regular reports and clients. These sessions tend to be weekly or fornightly and people bring their ‘cut’ problems to those sessions. That way I have less email traffic to deal with as well.

    • Carey Bentley

      Brilliant Naomi…I love this hack! Killing two birds with one stone!

  • Allison

    Hi guys – this is really timely for me right now. I run my own company as a freelance PA so I need to be reactive to things meaning a lot of distractions are unavoidable – but when it’s my clients this is sort of ok, however I am getting REALLY distracted by a friend who rents the other half of my office. I know more about his work and company than anything and it’s so hard to train him as he isn’t actually a collague. He also doesn’t really read visual clues, and it’s becoming a real problem, but I know he will be offended as a long time friend if I tell him just how tricky it is dealing with him…

    • Carey Bentley

      Hey Allison! Great comment! I can appreciate the difficulty when your office buddy is more of a “friend” who is used to chit chatting with you all day long. If you can enroll him in a shared vision for creating an office space that works in work sprints, you could start to get somewhere with him! Some of the coworking spaces we work with establish “focus periods” followed by 10 minute breaks, so that everyone’s on the same schedule. A lot of folks also get value out of hanging a sign on their chair that alerts those people in a not-so-subtle way that they do NOT want to be interrupted. Keep us updated on how it goes!

      • Allison

        Yeah I did the post it note game for 50 mins focus with him (not so subtle hint that I have things to do) and he liked it and went along with me – for like a day then went back to his old ways! Headphones don’t work, me telling him how stressed and busy I am doesn’t work, I even went in worked in a noisy pub to focus the other day but will try implement some of these suggestions and see how I get on! Appreciate the advice…