Subscribe to

The Unconventional Guide to Work

Life’s too short to be bored at work. We can help.

Top 5 Hiding Places and Productivity Tips for Getting Work Done

Blanket_FortFor agencies, productivity translates to profitability, which is why interruptions can be costly. A typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption.

Despite email’s bad rap, face-to-face interruptions account for one-third more interruptions than email or phone calls. Furthermore, frequent interruptions are linked to higher rates of exhaustion, stress-induced health issues and workplace errors. Yikes!

Bottom line: you need to hide.

Here are our top tips for productivity and office hiding spaces.

1. Make room in the supply closet.

Find your nearest office supply closet, push aside the outdated holiday decorations, water jugs and that old fax machine (for those curious what a fax is), and get to work.

While you’re in there, see if you can master the two-minute rule. Unfamiliar? Simple: Can the next item in your to-do list be completed in two minutes or less? If so, just do it! It’s not worth letting it sit there. Get it done and move on.

2. Wrap your cube in caution tape.

While people may gawk a little, they will also steer clear of an active crime scene. While you’re behind the ropes, try to save your co-workers’ time by improving your email subject lines.

Make subject lines specific and actionable so the associated task is clear (i.e. “Review presentation for Friday meeting”; “Revise and deliver to client by EOD”). Your colleagues will thank you for helping them prioritize.  

3. Meet with your alter ego.

Maybe your alter ego is Carlos, a world-traveler with perfect hair, or Isabel, a freelance ballet dancer / master chef. Whoever this person is, schedule a couple hour meeting with them during the most productive part of your day.

Putting a fake meeting on your calendar is a great way to signal to co-workers that you’re unavailable, so you can block down and tackle your to-do list. Better yet: Book a conference room for you, yourself and I, so the three of you can have an isolated, quiet, distraction-free place to work.

4. Take up residence at a coffee house.

Cozy up in your local cafe away from the hussle, bussle and distractions of the office. Order up a latte, listen to some smooth jazz, and work uninterrupted.

Another productivity tip: if you find your brain distracting you with random ideas, to-dos and other thoughts, quickly jot down each as they pop up on a piece of paper and keep going. Knowing that you won’t forget anything important will help keep you focused on the task at hand.

5. Build a blanket fort.

Easily achievable in a cubicle farm or using your desk, blanket forts are virtually impenetrable; especially if you hang a “No Co-Workers Allowed” sign by the door. Once you’ve constructed your masterful fort, take a step back to admire your work, and to review this week’s projects, responsibilities and goals.

Schedule a “weekly review” meeting with yourself to make sure no responsibilities slips through the cracks, and that you’re making progress on things that are important. This exercise helps to remove of that nagging anxiety that you’re forgetting something!

What are your top tips for buckling down, avoiding distractions and getting work done?

Image Source: San Francisco Foghorn