On the Job

Tips to be productive in a chaotic environment

Being focused, creative and productive in your ideal work environment can be easy.

Unfortunately, much of our environment is out of our control. Open-air offices and public areas are clearly a mixed bag, but even working from home or on the road can bring its own challenges.

If you find yourself struggling to get things done because of what’s going on around you, try these tips to get back to business:

Work in short sprints
If the environment is too chaotic for you, then try working in bursts rather than extended periods of time. Focused stretches tend to be more productive than long marathons of work — and that’s true whether you’re in a busy environment or not. Shorter periods also allow you to regain your focus, making you more productive when you return.

Turn off to tune out
Turn off any distractions you have within your control, such as instant messenger, texting apps and even your cell phone ringer. You may not be able to tune out all the chaos, but you have a remarkable amount of potential disturbances within your power.

Get moving
Consider taking indoor meetings on the road, even if it’s just for a brief walk. In fact, walking meetings can be even more productive than traditional ones because the physical motion stimulates your brain.

Go with the flow
Lastly, try to follow the natural wave of the environment. Save phone calls for when the noise dies down, do lighter work when the chaos rises and perhaps even table the most important tasks for a later time.

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