21 Distractions that Decrease Your Productivity

Distractions are the death of productivity. They surround us and it’s so difficult to escape their grasp. Just one single distraction can stop you from working for 5-10 minutes, maybe several times throughout the day. Now imagine if there was 21 of those distractions surrounding you in your work environment .

Let’s say you gave in to all 21 of them; I don’t think you’d get any work done. If you’re a blogger, then you are going to want to have complete focus on all the posts you’re writing. But with access to the internet, the number of possible distractions doesn’t get any better.


21 Distractions that Decrease Your Productivity

Here’s a list of 21 distractions that decrease your productivity and can completely kill any progress you’re trying to make with your goals. If you’re to succeed, remember to eliminate these distractions from your surroundings when trying to get some work done.


1) Facebook

You just knew that this was going to be top of the list, didn’t you? Facebook is the number one distraction from work, which is why most companies block the website so their employees can’t access it.

People spend far too much time focusing on what others have been doing than actually what they’re doing themselves, which is a bit worrying. Unless your promoting your businesses Facebook page, then stay off Facebook whilst you’re working.


2) Reddit

Reddit is another of the big distractions that decreases your productivity, because it’s a hub of links, and you basically have access to large portions of the internet at the click of a button. Think about it.

You could spend hours and hours just stumbling onto endless amusing or interesting stories.


3) YouTube

Admittedly, I’m listening to songs on YouTube whilst writing this post, and I’m not sure why, because normally I’d just open up my ITunes. But never the less, every time a song ends flick back to the tab and look for another one.

I should know better, but at the moment I can’t help myself. So if you can imagine the amount of times I have to keep changing songs over a 3 hour period, then you should realize the crazy lengths of time I’m wasting right now.


4) All Other Social Media

I’m not going to sit here and list every other social media site that’s distracting you, because they all are, and you get the idea. So, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Plus, StumbleUpon and so on will all be causing you distraction whilst working.

Unless of course you are using them to promote yourself or your work.


5) T.V

Please don’t work in a room with the T.V on. I’m also guilty of this one a lot of the time and I’m fairly confident you’ll find that your eyes are on the T.V screen more often than the work you’re actually doing.

As well as looking at the screen, T.V also decreases your productivity with the sound that’s coming from it. You’ll naturally want to focus on hearing everything which will slow down your thinking process.


6) Text Messaging

6th on the list of distractions that will shatter productivity is constantly replying to text messages as soon as you get them. Because the sooner that you text someone back, the sooner they text you back, and you won’t have time to even put down the phone before you have to pick it back up again.

It’s a vicious cycle!


7) Food

Okay, Don’t start losing your heads telling me that you love food and you need to actually eat throughout the day to survive. Relax. The truth is that whilst you’re trying to be productive and get some work done; if you are nibbling on various snacks, you can only have one hand on the keyboard, surely?

Therefore, it’ll slow down the speed that you’re able to work at, so maybe try to snack less when you’re in a solid period of working. If you get hungry and need to snack, take a short break.


8) Games Consoles

This won’t apply to most people in a workplace, but for those who perhaps work at home and are really into gaming, may be tempted to take a break and switch on the console.

It’s amazing how much time you can actually blow on a games console without actually knowing it. What you think is 10 minutes is really half an hour, and time soon passes.


9) Emails

Similar to text messaging, if you’re constantly answering to emails, then it’s obviously going to distract you from getting work done. Some people in business often seem to end up just answering emails all day long and doing nothing else.

Many successful people like Bill Gates, will reserve some time at the end of the day to check their emails and reply to them, which is a great strategy because you’re still replying to emails daily, but all in one go instead of checking them in between periods of work.


10) Mirrors

Probably one more for the ladies reading, re-applying their make up, re-doing their hair etc. Which as a man, is not something I’m going to get in the way of, but it’s definitely worth pointing out that it will decrease your productivity if there are mirrors close to your desk.


11) Notepads

In most cases, notepads increase productivity. The sole purpose of them is so you can write down important things you need to remember, such as any great sparks of creativity you have.

Although, notepads when unused for the important stuff, can often end up as doodle pads. It’s all well and great that you’ve spent loads of time doodling awesome pictures, but if you’re not an artist or working in design then it’s just a distraction to your work.


12) A Busy Room

A room with lots of people talking, discussing and moving around is guaranteed to decrease your productivity. This is a pretty natural thing in the work place anyway, so it might just be something you need to get used to if you can’t avoid it.


13) Phone Calls

Again, constant phone calls throughout the day is going to distract you from what you’re doing, and you’ll often find that after getting off the phone you will have completely forgotten what you were doing.


14) Pets

This may not be a fair one to put on the list as people love their pets and would do anything for them, but stroking them, feeding them, playing with them and so on during work periods will obviously lower your rate of productivity.

The more pets you have where you work, ie. in most cases your home, then the more your productivity starts to decrease. They love attention!


15) Furniture

Furniture? Yes furniture. Do you ever find yourself wondering which chair would be best to sit on, which height it should be to correspond with your desk? Oh but wait, your desk now needs to be a different height to compensate for your long legs… you get the picture.

Even worse, you have a swivel chair that you just can’t help but keep adjusting or spinning around on. The best thing to do is just spend a small amount of time getting your set up right, and then leave everything alone from then on.


16) Meetings (in some cases)

People often say that the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings are normally the peoples who are the least productive. You’re not getting any work done whilst in meetings. Sure, you’re agreeing on some decisions. But a lot of these don’t need whole meetings based around them.

It’s not necessary and often kills a lot of time that you could have been using to get work done. You know it’s bad when you’re holding meetings just to talk about setting dates for other meetings.


17) Any Others Time Wasting Websites

Basically any websites in general that you love and have nothing to do with your work, are distractions that decrease your productivity. It’ll find a way to make you click on it. Resist all temptations to browse these websites when you should be working. They’ll eat up a lot of your time.


18) Small Unimportant Tasks

Literally and small tasks that don’t have a deadline, but you decide to do them anyway because they’re easy really won’t be doing you any favors.

To all the bloggers and website owners out there; how often do you spend making small little edits to your website, changing them again, and again when they’re really not high up on the priority list?


19) Your own Thoughts

Well, this one gets me quite a lot. Is your mind not quite all on the task at hand?

It’s actually really difficult to stop thinking about other things going on in your life whilst at work. Especially when it comes to personal problems like relationships, but do your best to block them out. Besides, what good is worrying going to do you?

Over-thinking is one of the most common and difficult distractions that decreases your productivity.


20) News

Anything to do with news; apps, websites, newspapers and so on. It can be very useful if you’re in an industry that feeds off new stories, but if you’re not, then perhaps be checking out the latest before or after you go to work.

News is 24/7. We love to be updated on everything that’s going on within the world, but try and reserve a small amount of time within each day for this, rather than staying updated throughout the day and having more and more to talk about with your colleagues as the day goes on.


21) Looking at the Clock

Last on the list, one of the most pointless distractions that decrease your productivity is just simply staring at the clock. I have no idea what people think they’re going to achieve by doing so.

If you really want to waste some of your precious minutes in this world, then I highly recommend just staring at the clock.



That was a fairly long list, so let’s quickly recap on the list of 21 distractions that decrease your productivity.

  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • YouTube
  • All other social media
  • T.V
  • Text Messaging
  • Food
  • Games consoles
  • Emails
  • Mirrors
  • Notepads
  • A busy room
  • Phone calls
  • Pets
  • Furniture
  • Meetings
  • Any other time wasting websites
  • Small unimportant tasks
  • Your own thoughts
  • News
  • Looking at the clock

    Which of the distractions on the list are ones that you let decrease your productivity?

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