This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How to Cut Off Your Distractions at Work and Focus on a Project

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Multitasking is one thing, and workers who are able to multitask should be the envy of us all. But interruptions in the workplace are quite a different thing, and should never be welcome. Now there's a university study to prove it -- and back up do-not-disturb policy at your office.

"People don't realize how disruptive interruptions can be," says Cyrus Foroughi, co-author of the study Do Interruptions Affect Quality of Work? and a doctoral candidate at George Mason University.

His data show the typical worker is interrupted six times a day on the job. That sounds like a lot, but just how distracting are those interruptions?

Read More: Will a 4-Day Workweek Work for Your Company?

"There is value in determining whether interruptions affect the quality of the tasks that many people perform regularly, such as writing essays or reports," Foroughi says.

To find out, Foroughi's staff broke GMU students into two groups on an essay project. One group was left alone and the other was interrupted regularly.

Not too surprisingly, the group that was interrupted showed lower-quality scores and wrote fewer words.

"Interruption can cause a noticeable decrement in the quality of work, so it's important to take steps to reduce the number of external interruptions we encounter daily," Foroughi says. "For example, turn off your cellphone and disable notifications such as email while trying to complete an important task."

Read More: 5 Things Your Micro-Manager Boss Needs to Hear

In addition, close your door or put a sign on your outside cubicle wall saying "No interruptions, please."

It's also a good idea to call out the cause of the interruption and ask yourself "Is this really a good time for me to be interrupted?"

If the problems persists, give a little, but only a little. Make sure the other party knows you have a five-minute time limit to discuss the problem. Better yet, tell the other party you'll be happy to discuss the issue -- but only after you're done working on your current task.

Also: Let your work phone go to voice mail as well as your personal phone, and close your work email page temporarily as well when you need to focus on a project.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs