It's a busy day at the office, and you're trying to focus on a project. You're deep in thought when a co-worker pops up next to you and asks for your help with their work. You're not really in the mood to be interrupted, but you reluctantly agree to help because you know that they wouldn't be bothering you if it wasn't important.
They explain that they're having trouble with a project and you spend the next 45 minutes helping them. By the time they leave, you end up feeling frustrated and unproductive. You've lost your train of thought, and now you are not sure if your own project can be completed on time.
One of the most common ways you get interrupted in your work is when co-workers ping you—whether it's just to chat or to ask for your help. In this article, we'll talk about five common digital interruptions and how Zoho Workplace can help reduce them.
Common digital interruptions in the workplace
"Let's have a quick meeting."
Meetings can disrupt work schedules and workflow. People need to prepare for meetings, attend meetings, and then catch up on the work they missed while they were in the meetings. Meetings can be unproductive if they're not well-planned.
"Let me quickly check this email."
Constant emails can be a distraction. People find it difficult to focus on work when they have emails popping up all the time. It's important to prioritize emails and set aside time to address them.
"Let me take this one call."
Calls and texts can also disrupt your work. They interrupt your train of thought, and it can be difficult to get back into work after a long phone call. It's important to let your colleagues know when they can contact you.
"Let me sort my inbox."
A cluttered inbox can be a source of stress when you struggle to find important emails. When you have a lot of unread emails in different folders, it can be tempting to check your inbox frequently, even when you're trying to focus on something else. Also, you're likely to make mistakes when responding to important emails. This can lead to lost productivity as you're constantly being pulled away from your work.
"Which task should I do first?"
When you have a lot of tasks to complete, it can be difficult to prioritize your work. You might end up feeling overwhelmed and put off tasks that seem difficult or daunting. In the end, you won't be able to focus well and are likely to make errors in your work.
How does Workplace help reduce digital interruptions?
Being a productivity suite, Zoho Workplace comes with a bunch of helpful applications and features to reduce digital interruptions while you work.
1. Manage your work with Zoho Tasks
Zoho Tasks is a task-management tool that's part of the Zoho Workplace suite of productivity apps. It allows you to create, manage, and track tasks, and it also includes features for collaboration, delegation, and reporting. Here's some ways that Zoho Tasks helps you manage all of your tasks.
Choose your priorities
Decide which tasks are the most important, and assign a priority level to each based on the tasks that need to be completed first.
Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks
Create sub-tasks to tackle larger tasks one step at a time. This will make them seem less daunting and will make it easier to get started.
Set deadlines for yourself
Specify an end date for each task and sub-task. This will help you to stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Delegate some tasks
If you have too much on your plate, don't be afraid to delegate some tasks to others. This will free up your time so that you can focus on the most important tasks.
2. Avoid interrupting meetings with Zoho Calendar
Zoho Calendar is a powerful online calendar that can help you manage your meetings effectively. Here's how you can use business calendaring to tackle your meetings.
Communicate your availability to your colleagues
Using Zoho Calendar, you can mark your free/busy hours and let your colleagues know that you're available for meetings during certain times of the day or week. This will help prevent them from scheduling meetings during your non-available times.
Use technology to your advantage
Zoho Calendar comes integrated with Zoho Meeting so you can attend meetings remotely. You can also integrate Zoho Calendar with Zoom for your video-conferencing purposes.
Follow up on action items after the meeting
After the meeting, make sure that the action items are clear and everyone knows who's responsible for completing each one. You can assign tasks to each member using Zoho Tasks and then sync those tasks with your Zoho Calendar. This will help ensure that the meeting's goals are met.
3. Use Zoho Mail to set aside time for emails and declutter your inbox
Aside from being a super-secure email platform, Zoho Mail comes packed with features to manage emails effectively, especially when you receive a lot of them.
Snooze emails for later
When we're drowning in emails, there will be some important emails to which you cannot respond immediately but need to later. You can use the Snooze feature in Zoho Mail to store those emails in a separate folder and retrieve them exactly when you need them.
You can also snooze emails by using the Incoming filters settings. When you set the condition to snooze while configuring the incoming filters, the emails satisfying the conditions will be snoozed for the configured preset time.
You can flag emails to manage and organize them for easier identification at a later time. Zoho Mail provides three types of flags that can be applied to emails:
- Important (red)
- Info (blue)
- Follow-up (green)
Zoho Mail's email tagging and color association features allow easy identification of emails that belong to multiple categories. This comes in handy when you need to view emails that are labeled under a specific tag but are located in different folders.
Use filters for smart email organization
Zoho Mail comes with smart email filters to organize your inbox and keep your email manageable. Here are a few examples of the filters you can create:
Filter emails from specific senders: Organize emails from different departments or different people.
Filter emails that are older than a certain number of days: Archive emails that you no longer need.
Filter emails with attachments: Organize emails that contain important documents or files.
You can also create multiple filters for the same type of email. This will help you organize your inbox even further. Learn more about filters here.
4. DND to the rescue
Avoid being bombarded with texts and calls when you are busy working and do not wish to be disturbed. Set your status to "Do not disturb" from any of Zoho Workplace's applications when you're plugged into work.
You can also set a custom message such as, "Will not be available for the next 3 hours," to let your colleagues know that you'll be engaged for the specified time.
Digital interruptions occur every single day, and they can impede you from being productive or even completing your work on time. There will always be emails to check, meetings to plan, and colleagues needing your help. But you can choose whether you get interrupted, and when you want to attend to those interruptions. Set your boundaries and leverage the features on Zoho Workplace to reduce interruptions at work.