Distraction at Work

Lyman A. Montgomery July 20, 2017

Why employees lose focus.



Every job requires 100 percent focus in order to get things done. However, there are instances where we zone out and get sucked into distractions. Sounds familiar? Yes, you are not alone. Sometimes, you just can’t help but lose focus.

Sure, you can’t be on your A game all the time. But too much procrastination and distraction will not help you out in the long run. As reported in a New York Times article, a study from University of California, Irvine found out that a typical office employee encounters distractions every eleven minutes. The study also pointed out that it takes averagely twenty-five minutes to get working again. Yikes.

If you’re wondering why you get distracted at work, here a few reasons behind it:

  • People can get overwhelmed. Since not everyone has a quick mind, the time it takes to process information varies from person to person. Sometimes, your brain can’t pick up every detail at a fast pace, causing you to pause and space out.
  • Noise, noise, noise. Although working in an open office is great, the space comes with noise—and lots of it. Matthew Davis, an organizational psychologist, reviewed more than a hundred studies on office environments. He discovered that the noise in open offices can hamper an employee’s concentration and motivation.
  • Technology is tempting. The twenty-first century has blessed humanity with technology that aids in going about things in a quicker and more efficient manner. However, devices such as smartphones and tablets do have a downside. Lurking around social media and reading text messages prove to be distracting; the two activities trigger the release of dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel good. The more you scroll down your feeds, the more the need for dopamine amps up.
  • Multitasking isn’t exactly that efficient. As much as you like to think that you can pull it off, the truth is your brain isn’t exactly wired for multitasking. Kevin Dorsey of SnackNation deems the term multitasking as a misnomer—meaning, it’s inappropriate.
  • Messy work stations. Because your brain reacts to your surroundings, you’re most likely going to feel cluttered, like your desk.
  • The anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that anxiety disorders is the country’s most common form of mental illness. Around forty million adults around the nation are affected by it. The fast-paced work life doesn’t help things either. Anxiety can greatly affect concentration; moderate to severe cases lowers short-term memory and makes concentrating on work a near-impossible feat.

Do you have any more items to add on this list of distractions? Just drop by the comment section and share away. Also, feel free to send me a tweet @Lymanmontgomery at or like me on Facebook.



Konnikova, Maria. 2014. “The Open-Office Trap.” The New Yorker, January 7. Accessed June 9, 2017.

Murphy, Jeff. 2016. “Here Are 13 Workplace Distractions Robbing You of Productivity (And How to Fix Them).” SnackNation, December 19. Accessed June 9, 2017.

Sullivan, Bob, and Thompson, Hugh. 2013. “Brain, Interrupted.” The New York Times, May 3. Accessed June 9, 2017.

Rock, David. 2009. “Easily Distracted: Why It’s Hard to Focus, and What to Do About It.” Psychology Today, October 4. Accessed June 9, 2017.

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