Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. John is a successful civil servant, his wife Vivian is attractive, clever, patient and supportive. They have two perfectly normal children. So what could John possibly find annoying?
Just about everything as his world spirals out of control. Life and Other Annoying Interruptions is a dark and very funny look at our modern lives as John finds himself negotiating one pitfall a John is a successful civil servant, his wife Vivian is attractive, clever, patient and supportive. Life and Other Annoying Interruptions is a dark and very funny look at our modern lives as John finds himself negotiating one pitfall after another-most of them of his own doing.
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Another consequence of open office layouts is the propensity for team members to interrupt each other to ask basic questions. If you want to keep your open office layout and we recommend that you do , create a system with which team members can signal to each other when they are engaged in focused work.
Culture provides another solution. Be direct, figure out what you need, provide context and ask direct questions. A cluttered workspace will result in a cluttered mind.
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And as Lifehacker recently pointed out , your brain also has a proclivity to bounce around when things get tough. The more challenging the task, the more likely your mind is to wander.
The point is, you can try to quiet your mind and focus either by exercising self-control difficult , or by eliminating distracting elements from the context of your work environment much easier. It all starts with cleaning up your workspace. Minimalism is key here. Remove the clutter from your desk, and only keep things that contribute to your work.
Nutrition is extremely critical for cognition and focus.
Intersection of Life and Faith
Your typical sugary vending machine food — like candy bars and danishes — create energy spikes and crashes that inhibit our ability for prolonged concentration, and actually make the problem worse. Avoid foods with processed sugars and unhealthy fats, both of which lead to energy crashes and sluggishness. Stick to foods rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbs to help maintain maximum focus. Save time and money by providing your employees with healthy snacking options in the office.
Please Stop Interrupting Me! | Greater Good
According to the National Institute of Mental Health , anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the U. One of the little known side-effects of anxiety is its effect on concentration. Moderate to severe anxiety degrades short term memory and makes concentration almost impossible. Anxiety is a byproduct of prolonged stress. Nap pods, meditation rooms, and tranquility waterfalls, are all great ways to encourage employees to actively rejuvenate. Check out our post on creating a Zen office space for more ideas. A Canadian study made headlines worldwide by concluding that modern human beings now have shorter attention spans than goldfish — thanks, of course, to our smartphone addictions.
But even without the deleterious effect of our smartphone culture, our concentration has always had its limits. Think of concentration like the tank of gas in your car. Each day you wake up with a full tank. The concept is to tackle your highest leverage activity first, when your energy and focus are at their peak. By eating the frog, you create an early win, and can use the momentum to propel you through the rest of your day.
You can also try the Pomodoro Technique , which uses the idea of working in short intervals usually 25 minutes separated by short breaks minutes.
This digital Tomato Timer is perfect for using this productivity technique. We answer high priority requests, respond to questions, browse articles from the various mailing lists to which we subscribe, and delete junk mail. From there, we have our inbox open all day, and when a new email pops up, we click into it right away. But as it turns out, this type of engagement with our inbox is a surefire way to torpedo our productivity.
Responding to emails is, by its very nature, reactive. The many threads and conversations we have in emails pull us in multiple directions, and distract us from the important work still on our plate. I usually start my day with the activity that requires my highest level of concentration around 8 am. If there are none, I continue working, and respond to emails at set times throughout the day — usually around 11 am, 3 pm, and once more before I leave the office. Some of you might be surprised to see Slack on this list. Email — sure that makes sense.
Slack is the enterprise level chat app that has been touted over the last few years as a veritable email killer. Slack promises to avoid the pitfalls of email too time-consuming, too confusing while increasing transparency and preventing information silos. Slack was one of the most oft-cited culprits in a Quora thread about workplace distractions.
While Slack is without a doubt an amazing collaboration tool, much of the information contained in emails simply migratedsto Slack. And of course, living in Slack is just as bad — if not worse — than living in your inbox. When deployed right, Slack is still an amazing collaboration tool. The key is to set yourself up for success by turning off badges and notifications, creating do not disturb hours, and muting channels. Decision fatigue is what happens to your brain when you have to make too many decisions in quick succession.
Like concentration, our decision making ability reserves can get low and run out. The idea here is to eliminate as many decisions from your day as possible. Meetings are notorious time-sucks — the place where we talk about the work we should be doing instead of actually doing it. Holding good meetings is a bit of an artform. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your time:. To really drive the point home, try this Meeting Calculator from Jell. The chemicals that your brain release when you do things like scroll through Facebook affect your brain in a very similar way as opioids like heroin.
Chrome extensions like DistractOff take the temptation away and help you avoid the impulse for mindless procrastination. Or try a distraction free writing tool.
Why do people interrupt? It depends on whom you're talking to
Another ingenious idea is to hijack your Facebook habit with something more productive. Every time you find yourself reaching for your phone, stop yourself and reach for a book instead. Soon, your breaks will be filled with productive work instead of mindless scrolling. Distractions are a fact of life , but there are definitely ways to optimize your office and minimize their effect. The key is to eliminate as many as possible. Rather than engage in a daily struggle with your own biology, avoid as many as possible by removing those temptations in the first place.
What are some distractions that we missed, and how does your office deal with them? Let us know in the comments below.