Most office environments have a toy box full of distractions that pull us away from our work. These disruptions can be technology, free food, meetings, and even your co-workers. If your company allows the use of smartphones at a minimum while at work that could easily suck away 20 minutes to an hour of your time; it’s doubtful that you’re using it for company use.
Our interactions with co-workers can be a great release for tension but can fill up several minutes of your day that could be allotted to completing other tasks. We get around these encounters by communicating through online chat. Some of us use gchat through Google’s service Gmail, but there are plenty of other office communicator products that are equally as distracting. As soon as you get that flickering conversation box you feel compelled to click through and start a chat. Unless you’re planning on resolving a current conflict, or sharing a piece of code through the chat box you’re completely diverting your attention span away from your task at hand. You may think you can multitask, but keep note of how motivated you feel to finish that report after a gab session in chat.
Unless IT has completely blocked you from this form of communication they have a reason for it to be used by you and your colleagues. If you’re unclear of how much time you should be spending on it then ask a friend, or even your manager. Set some clear boundaries on the best times to use the feature. You always have the option to log off of the device completely at certain times of the day. This way your colleagues are forced to either visit your desk, email you, or call. Yes, that is still a lot of touch points for communicating, but it gives you more time to respond. The issue with chat is that it’s immediate. If you don’t respond to an IM in a certain time frame then that person may feel ignored, brushed off, or they may decide to expedite the process and drop by sooner.
There are benefits to using the technology, but don’t let the negative outweigh the positive. Stick to a plan and unplug if the messages are becoming overly social.
How did you do with last week’s bad habit, holiday amnesia? A week later you should be back into your normal routine. If you need to have more time to slack off then take a vacation day!
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