How I Find Focus In a Busy Office

The thing about working in a growing company is that you have to be ok with working around more and more people.

People are lovely, but they can make focused work a bit difficult, especially in open office plans. And headphones and music only count for so much in the fight to stay focused.

Here are a few more unconventional things I do to get focused time and space for getting work done:

1) Smuggle in a cubicle.

Yep, I am the only person with a “cubicle” in the open office. I brought in a folding standing screen to create a semi-closed environment, which helps keep out the distraction of prying eyes and passers-by.

2) Find a quiet place (and get creative about it).

Even with a “cubicle” my working space can often be a hot spot for conversation. That’s wonderful when conversation is called for, and not so great for focused effort.

If you can manage to “squat” on an unused conference room (without violating schedules or inconveniencing your coworkers) it can sometimes be worth it, especially when a big, time-sensitive project is on the line. Otherwise, you can get creative by finding unused nooks: once, I set up shop in a crowded equipment closet.

3) Work late (or early).

A simple way to avoid distractions is to get on a different schedule. On days I either arrive early or stay later into the night, I have far fewer people and distractions competing for my attention. You can give up normal working hours as a bit lost to meetings and unfocused productivity, but hallow your mornings or evenings for deep work.

4) Change your meal schedule

By skipping the normal mass lunch hour, I often find myself with time alone in my office area. In turn, I also have time alone when I eat my late lunch to do calming activities like reading or listening to a podcast. Both of these breaks help me to get into my own head rather than into the noise of a busy office.

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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