You’ve got a big project deadline coming up and you just can’t focus. Phones are ringing, email is dinging, and your coworkers are having the world’s loudest conversation around the water cooler which is right next to your desk. What do you do?

Silence the Technology

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but being constantly connected can be a huge distraction. If you want to get some work done you’re going to have to silence the technology.

Start with your email. Change your settings so you don’t get a popup every time you get an email. Yes, something important might happen while you’re in silent mode, but most likely the only thing you’ll miss out on is a getting distracted.

Next, set your cell phone to do not disturb. Your Facebook notifications can wait. If there’s someone who absolutely has to be able to reach you, most phones will let you create an exception so that a particular person can still ring through. But use this option sparingly or you’ll still end up answering phone calls that could have waited.

If you have a landline, turn the ringer off if possible, or set your calls to forward to your silent cell phone.

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Get Some Space from Coworkers

It’s likely that you share an office or work in an open space with a lot of other people, which means that you’re in close physical proximity to other humans, who may not be as focused on the task at hand as you are.

You might be able to just talk to your coworkers to let them know you have a big project and don’t want to be disturbed. If that doesn’t work try these strategies:

  1. Work from home. Seriously. If your boss will let you do it, and there aren’t any screaming children or soap opera watching roommates at your house, you may be able to get more done from your kitchen table than you can in a shared office space.
  2. Find a conference room. Conference rooms are designed for large groups of people, but they tend to stand empty when there isn’t a meeting going on. Take advantage of the quiet space.
  3. Rent a ready room. College Park Executive Suites has a Ready Room that can be rented by the day or by the hour. It’s a fully furnished office with a single desk and a door that closes. So even if you usually share an office, you can get the private office experience at least until the project is done.
The Ready Room at College Park Executive Suites

The Ready Room at College Park Executive Suites

Fight Noise with Noise

If you absolutely cannot get away from your coworkers, but the noise of daily work is making it impossible for you to focus, try fighting noise with noise. Grab some headphones and stream your favorite music, or even white noise to drown out what’s going on around you.

Pro tip: get big over-ear headphones so your coworkers can see that you’re trying to drown them out, that way they’ll be less likely to interrupt you.

These tips should help you destroy distractions to get your project done on deadline. Good luck.