Summer InternTips: Avoiding Distractions

Now is the time in your summer where you are getting tired of the daily grind. You’re tired of waking up early, tired of daily tasks at work and tired of your officemates’ weird mannerisms. When you are tired, you’re more likely to start up bad habits at work — nodding off in the middle of the day, not listening to instructions, and (worst of all) random distractions.

Distractions at work start off harmless. You discover an interesting website or a fun way to pass the time on office computers. At first, distractions are often office related — reading about your industry but not actually doing your assignment, chatting with coworkers, et cetera — but it often grows to more distractions, like Facebook, Buzzfeed or Twitter. That’s when you get in trouble.

If you find yourself constantly at the mercy of random distractions, and you discover you’re spending most of your time at work looking for ways to avoid work than actually doing it, you should probably follow these tips:

1. Look for an assignment change. Sometimes, a dumb project is the reason for your boredom at work. See if you can find a project that interests you more. After you do that for a while, switch back to the project that made you bored. Maybe you’ll be rejuvenated.

2. Take a five-minute break every hour. This is the best advice I have. Ideally, this time should be spent away from your desk, maybe on a trip to the water cooler or a walk around the office. Refill your waterbottle. Go to the bathroom. Chat with a friend down the hall. Some time away from the desk is sometimes all you need to get back on track.

3. Be cognizant of your posture. Slouching, reaching, craning your neck can make you tired and harm productivity.

4. Have a healthy snack. Avoid the break room doughnuts and instead bring along an apple, some carrots, or some crackers with goat cheese. Unhealthy, sugary or greasy snacks usually don’t help your brain, especially if you’re already tired. Along those same lines, coffee won’t necessarily help your productivity or make you more alert, so try to drink juice or water instead.

5. Have fun with work. If you see work as a chore, you won’t do it. If you like doing it, you will do it. A simple attitude change might be all you need to fix your productivity.

6. Set little goals for yourself. It can sometimes help to set a goal to achieve for, especially if you are only working on a long-term project. Plus, it looks good to bosses.

Photo credit: blackenterprise.com

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