Article: Being productive at work: Avoiding disturbances


Being productive at work: Avoiding disturbances

Practical insights on unwanted workplace chit-chats
Being productive at work: Avoiding disturbances

A survey by Sapience Analytics, a Pune-based technology firm, has found out that every 11th minute, you are disrupted by either a ping on your chat window, a beep on your Smartphone or a message alert? And to add to this, it takes a good 25 minutes before you return to your workstation.

We all are a creature of habits. But it is how we want to manage and tame our insane habits make the difference.  Any habit that causes a definite disturbance around us should be controlled. Let me elaborate a bit. 

  • Have you ever found a co-worker of yours who has an uncanny habit to chit chat informally at least 3 times a day by suddenly gushing in your workstation? 

  • Or do you have your colleagues who often come to your desk asking you to accompany them for a short break? 

We all certainly have our friends who fall under this category of habitual disturbance creation. 

Every employee has his or her own distinctive personality. Handling them seems easy at one go, but gradually it becomes a tough row to hoe to handle their growing need of breaks and chit chats, especially when you have an urgent deadline to meet. How do you handle them?

Here are five simple yet practical and effective tips which will help you handle unwanted chit chats in your office.

1.  Quite zone

Tag your desk as 'Quite Zone' for a fixed time, especially the days when you have an urgent deliverable to meet. Be rigid and firm not to entertain anyone during these hours. Slowly, people around you will start respecting you for your dedication or others will unwillingly stop chasing you for their breaks and chit chats.

In fact, there are organization’s who allocates “Quiet zone” for their employees. These are spaces that help you to think and get your things done. It is important to provide quiet zones that allow normal office activity and are not overly disruptive.

2.  Lead by example

Help other employees to get over this problem by leading with example. In fact, this can have a positive effect on the overall culture of the organization. Imagine, a dedicated quite zone in the office where everyone is engrossed in their task gives a sense of pride and no doubt an increased productivity. This enables you to contribute to your organization in accelerating business results by inspiring others.

 3.  The tricky one

Apart from sincerely trying hard, there will still remain a good number of species who will continue to carry the baton forward. Next time when they come up to you to interrupt your work, then simply ask him or her to help you out with your work which will help you in completing your task quicker. Though you would actually not want them to help you, this will definitely fetch what you have been looking for. There are extremely low chances of them to come back to your desk when they see you working next time.

4.  Fear of relationship

We spend minimum 9 hours in our office and of course have colleagues who become good friends. The thought of losing them is the most common fear one has in her or his mind. Getting the message across to them straight becomes tricky. In this situation, you can use another way of politely deferring the discussion.  Pick up a topic that your chit chat friend is disinterested. For instance, if she likes discussing movies, you pick up some information on Animal Planet or historical documentary films. Just try to talk about things which are completely different from what she generally talks about. This will make them stop hanging around with you for long hours and slowly they will just hang around for some time and excuse themselves from there.

5.  Stay away

There are many of our colleagues who are smart enough to complete their assigned task and then come to you for chit-chats when you are seen to be busy in work. They generally are devoid of any interest in helping others to complete their respective works. Therefore, at the end of the day, you are reprimanded for not finishing your task on time and the other guy is a happy go lucky one smiling all the time because his work is all done. The golden rule to this is to simply stay away from such people who do not value other’s time.


If you wish to earn the title of a gossip king or queen, then it is okay to carry with whatever is happening around you. But if you want to be known as someone responsible, then it’s time to act now.  It is always said that prevention is better than cure. Rather than enjoying it and facing the consequences when it grows bitter, you must cut out the office chit chat right away. Let us stop as well as protect ourselves from these annoying workplace interruptions and help make the best of every minute.

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Topics: Culture, Performance Management, Life @ Work

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