How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Using “concentric defenses” to keep off interruptions you can’t avoid in other ways

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Most of the articles you read about dealing with time- and attention-wasting distractions concentrate on avoiding them altogether (shutting yourself away, better organization, better time allocation) or not adding to their number yourself (minimizing responding to e-mails and IMs, filtering phone calls, avoiding gossiping).

This is fine. But what about those that simply get through such defenses: the phone calls you can’t avoid, the personal visits to your desk, the calls from your boss? Are there any ways to deal with those and still keep your mind focused on what you need to be doing?

There are; and that’s the subject of this article.

What are “concentric defenses?”
The approach I’m advocating is based on the idea of “concentric defenses:” an idea first used by builders of medieval castles. The concept is simple: you start with an outer defense — maybe a ditch or moat — to try to prevent attackers ever reaching you. If that fails, they are faced with high walls and guard towers. Capture those and you find another set of walls and towers inside them. In effect, the attacker has to start all over again.

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Most castles of this type had maybe three lines of defense, including the moat. Some had four, with a final tower or “keep” inside the second set of walls. I’m suggesting six progressive lines of defense against distractions and interruptions, so you can deal with everything from the thoughtless colleague to the boss who demands that you drop everything else and attention to her need — now!

The six concentric defenses against distractions and interruptions

Here they are. I’m going to assume that you’ve already tried the conventional means of avoid the distractions (noted above) and it’s either broken through or wasn’t going to be stopped by those anyway:

  • The first defense is the simplest: simply ignore the distraction altogether. This won’t work with a personal caller, but it can be done with phone calls and e-mails — so long as you are sure who’s calling. Ignore the interruption until you’re ready to deal with it — which may be never.
  • Your second line of defense should be to note down the subject of the interruption — so you can be sure of dealing with it later — then pay it no further attention. This works well with e-mail requests for data or simple phone calls. Even a few personal visits can be handled this way, so long as the visitor doesn’t expect an extended conversation. Make sure you do get back to it and supply what was asked for. That way, people will trust the process in future and not expect anything else to make them feel certain that you’ve heard.
  • The third line is to deal with those who need to know, clearly, that you’ve heard them and will respond in due course. I call this “acknowledge, note, repeat, and shelve.” Acknowledge the request; make sure they see you note it down (or assure them that you’re doing so); repeat back, if necessary; then shelve. The same proviso applies as with the previous defense: you must prove that you will deal with whatever they wanted — only later, when it suits your schedule.
  • That still won’t be enough for some people, who suspect you’re fobbing them off and will simply ignore what they want; or that “when it suits you” may turn out to be some indefinite time, far in the future, when the response will be useless anyway. For that, use the fourth defense line: “acknowledge, schedule, repeat with scheduled time, and shelve.” You acknowledge the request, set a definite time to deal with it, repeat the time to show you’re committed to it, then shelve the request until then. This works very well with boss-generated requests of a non-urgent nature.
  • By now we’re down to those interrupters who simply won’t accept a promise to deal with the need later. For them, I suggest the fifth line: “Acknowledge, do the minimum, schedule the rest, then shelve and get on.” You acknowledge what they want, do the absolute minimum you can to deal with it right away (to demonstrate that you really will give them what they want), set a firm schedule to complete the job, and shelve it until then. You’ve suffered some interruption, but probably not enough to set you back seriously with what you were doing. This should be your automatic defense for bosses who demand to see action on your part, even when the request is not really that urgent.
  • The final, sixth line of defense is the one you should use with the boss who won’t be satisfied with anything less than instant action on your part, however much that interferes with your other work. In such cases, you need to reverse one of the earlier defenses: you acknowledge the request, note down carefully exactly where you are in what you are currently doing (so you can get back to that place quickly afterwards), deal FULLY with the boss’s imperious demands, and forget about what you had to set aside to do this.

This last step is vital. If you keep thinking about what you had to leave to deal with the boss’s demands, you’ll feel more and more anxious and frustrated; plus you won’t really have all your mind on whatever you’re having to do to satisfy the boss. It may therefore take you longer, and that will certainly make you feel more angry and stressed.

That is my list of suggestions. You may have found other ways of dealing with distractions you didn’t generate yourself and you can’t avoid. If so, add a comment to this article and share them with other readers, please. Today may be the day you help someone who’s struggling with a problem you know how to solve.

Distractions, distractions. We spend a lot of time trying to rid ourselves of distractions in our life, like turning down the radio when we’re reversing the car or looking for a house number in a street. Sometimes we need silence when we think and we usually always need quiet when we sleep. What happens if we have distractions pop up at these inconvenient times? Well, we can’t do what we need to do. We can’t sleep, think properly or find our friend’s house. The distractions get in the way.

But are we taking the time to identify and reduce the other distractions in our lives? Are silly things getting in the way and tying up our time and energy and distracting us from achieving the things that make us happy?

There are a lot of things you can use to distract yourself, trust me, I’ve used most of them. You can buy houses and throw yourself into painting, renovating, replacing and fixing things. You can buy pets and commit yourself to the love and care those lovely little creatures require. You can also distract yourself from a crappy job by focusing on holidays, weekends and catching up with friends.

But is focusing on distractions really the way to live? I mean, you can definitely do it. It’s possible to go along like that. I was doing it for a long time and for the most part, the distractions helped. Booking holidays, spending a few nights away, seeing a girlfriend for breakfast or going to the beach. But, really, there’s only so long you can do that before it all comes up and starts to weigh on your mind.

If we’re so willing to turn down the volume on our car radio to ensure we don’t reverse into a brick wall, why aren’t we willing to turn down the noise of the distractions in our lives, when doing so could help us live a full and happy existence?

How to cope with more of those pesky distractionsImage credit: Jay Mantri

For me, I think part of it was the fear of facing unhappiness. What is going to happen to me if I strip away those things that are filling in the gaps and all I’m left with is the realisation that I’ve made a whole bunch of decisions that have led me to a place where I’m not totally happy? I could feel embarrassed, sad, angry, lonely, ashamed and really, really upset. Even worse, I could feel totally helpless. Maybe it’s better just to hold onto these little safety blankets keeping me warm, just focus on my distractions and be happy with what I’ve got.

Yea, sure, that is one way to go about it and you’ll live a life where you have happiness and love and all those things. But…. it could be better. You could feel wonderful all the time (barring the odd occasion where you eat a dodgy prawn vindaloo and get an upset stomach).

I guess it’s about packing quality over quantity in your life. No, that’s not right. It’s about packing a large quantity of quality into your life. As much as you can carry, then some more on top! You should be overflowing with quality in your life.

So, instead of focusing on the distractions that bring snippets of joy into our lives, like house renovations, pets and breakfast dates, why not face the crappy things head on? Would it be so bad if we took a moment to acknowledge that our relationship isn’t what we want it to be, our job isn’t giving us satisfaction or our University degree isn’t leading us where we want it to?

The fears that come with these things can be completely and totally overwhelming. They can be paralysing. But, if you can work through them and take those first few precious steps toward making a change, they can also be really liberating. Overcoming a fear is unlike anything else you can do in life. It empowers you and makes you feel like the King of the universe!

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Are there distractions in your life you can turn the volume down on? For me, I had to turn the volume down on ‘fluff’ I was packing into my weekends to distract me from my old job and help me get through each week. Instead of focusing my time and energy on planning these distractions, I put that effort into making a change and getting out of my job. This meant spending more time on my blog, building it up, so I could escape.

Now that I’m free of my old job, my distractions aren’t distractions anymore; they’re more like icing on my life cake.

I whole-heartedly believe our sole purpose in life is to be happy. If something isn’t making you happy, take the time to analyse and evaluate it and if it can’t be changed to make you feel happy, let it go. Surround yourself constantly with people, places and things that make you feel happy. Anything less is a distraction or detracting from your happiness.

You are always entitled to feel wonderful; every moment of every single day for the rest of your life.

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

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At some point in your career, you’ll undoubtedly cross paths with colleagues that irk you. Maybe it’s the presumption that their opinions are the only correct ones on the planet or their blatant brown-nosing to get on the boss’ good side. Perhaps you can’t stand how their arrogance, moodiness or quick temper puts a damper on the company culture.

Difficult co-workers can high-jack your emotions. They trigger something in you that causes you to almost act or think irrationally , which is not exactly a healthy situation in which you can succeed. You may find that sooner or later your exasperation expands until every little thing that person does makes you want to tear your hair out.

Unfortunately, in the case of annoying co-workers, you can’t simply remove them from your life. Avoiding them around the office or circumventing one-on-one meetings probably won’t work either.

Fortunately, there’s a way to put a positive spin on the situation that stems from a counter-intuitive insight about dealing with difficult people. When we discern a quality in someone else that irks us, we can benefit from pausing to examine exactly why we have that reaction and look more closely at what it can teach us about ourselves.

The friction of interacting with an annoying co-worker actually presents a chance to cultivate essential leadership skills like assertiveness, self-awareness and confidence. It can provide an unexpected opportunity for personal growth that goes far beyond solely testing the limits of your patience.

Of all the pregnancy ailments (of which, let’s face it, there can be quite a few), hip and back pain in pregnancy is definitely one of the most common, particularly in the third trimester.

One of the most common reasons for back and hip pain during pregnancy is due to the additional weight pressing down on your pelvic floor region and the result of your body being put under more physical strain as you rapidly approach your due date. It may also be down to those pesky pregnancy hormones, with a hormone called relaxin being released to help loosen the ligaments in preparation for labor. Whilst this hormone can be helpful for your pelvic floor, it can also put additional pressure on your joints, particularly if you over exert yourself.

Here are some simple, practical ways you can reduce your likelihood of experiencing back and hip pain in the later stages of pregnancy.

  • Ditch the heels – Whilst dressing up and slipping on your favourite pair of high heeled stilettos can do wonders for your confidence, walking in heels won’t do anything to help your balance, hip alignment or your potentially swollen feet in the third trimester. With a rapidly growing bump, weight increase, your centre of gravity changing and the risk of the occasional dizzy spell, opting for more comfortable flats or a lower kitten heel will be a far safer and more sensible option.
  • Yoga – If you are experiencing back or hip pain, gentle exercise such as yoga or body balance can really help both your body and mind. Prenatal yoga (with exercises tailored to ensure they are suitable for pregnancy) is often chosen as a calm and relaxing choice for third trimester. Not only can this form of yoga help your posture, balance and core strength, but can also loosen your joints and muscles and increase your level of flexibility. Yoga can also introduce a variety of really helpful breathing and relaxation techniques which can prove extremely useful during the earlier stages of labor.
  • Swimming – If you are experiencing back or hip pain, the prospect of your usual such exercise such as running or aerobics may be far from appealing. This is where swimming is a great option instead – the anti-gravity sensation of a calm breast stroke can be a really relaxing way to soothe aches and pains and stay active without the risk of physical strain. It can also help with any swelling you may be experiencing, and help moderate your body temperature in warmer weather.
  • Sleeping positions – As your body grows, you may find that you struggle to get comfortable at night time due to the back or hip pain you are experiencing. Pregnancy pillows can really help here, supporting the weight of your bump and ensuring your spine and hips are properly aligned whilst lying on your side. Many pregnancy pillows are multi-functional too, making a great breastfeeding support or pillow for after your baby arrives.
  • Treat yourself to a prenatal massage – Finally, if you are finding that the pain is becoming really hard to manage, it may be time to treat yourself to a prenantal massage, a treatment specifically tailored to ease aches and pains related to pregnancy whilst being safe for you and your baby. Not only will a prenatal massage reduce toxins and soothe your aching muscles, but it can also help reduce the amount of stress hormone you experience, helping you to feel more calm and relaxed as you approach your due date.

Often, contrary to what you may expect, keeping up a form of gentle exercise and staying active is key. If you are still working, ensure that your workstation is safe and that you are not heavy lifting or doing anything that could put additional strain on your body. Try and stay calm and relax whenever you can – your baby will be here before you know it!


What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and aging.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important because it can help you to

  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Be physically healthy
  • Have good relationships
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community
  • Work productively
  • Realize your full potential

How can I improve my mental health?

There are many different things you can do to improve your mental health, including

  • Staying positive. It’s important to try to have a positive outlook; some ways to do that include
    • Finding balance between positive and negative emotions. Staying positive doesn’t mean that you never feel negative emotions, such as sadness or anger. You need to feel them so that you can move through difficult situations. They can help you to respond to a problem. But you don’t want those emotions to take over. For example, it’s not helpful to keep thinking about bad things that happened in the past or worry too much about the future.
    • Trying to hold on to the positive emotions when you have them
    • Taking a break from negative information. Know when to stop watching or reading the news. Use social media to reach out for support and feel connected to others but be careful. Don’t fall for rumors, get into arguments, or negatively compare your life to others.
  • Practicing gratitude, which means being thankful for the good things in your life. It’s helpful to do this every day, either by thinking about what you are grateful for or writing it down in a journal. These can be big things, such as the support you have from loved ones, or little things, such as enjoying a nice meal. It’s important to allow yourself a moment to enjoy that you had the positive experience. Practicing gratitude can help you to see your life differently. For example, when you are stressed, you may not notice that there are also moments when you have some positive emotions. Gratitude can help you to recognize them.
  • Taking care of your physical health, since your physical and mental health are connected. Some ways to take care of your physical health include
    • Being physically active. Exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression and improve your mood.
    • Getting enough sleep. Sleep affects your mood. If you don’t get a good sleep, you may become more easily annoyed and angry. Over the long term, a lack of quality sleep can make you more likely to become depressed. So it’s important to make sure that you have a regular sleep schedule and get enough quality sleep every night.
    • Healthy eating. Good nutrition will help you feel better physically but could also improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Also, not having enough of certain nutrients may contribute to some mental illnesses. For example, there may be a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and depression. Eating a well-balanced diet can help you to get enough of the nutrients you need.
  • Connecting with others. Humans are social creatures, and it’s important to have strong, healthy relationships with others. Having good social support may help protect you against the harms of stress. It is also good to have different types of connections. Besides connecting with family and friends, you could find ways to get involved with your community or neighborhood. For example, you could volunteer for a local organization or join a group that is focused on a hobby you enjoy.
  • Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life. This could be through your job, volunteering, learning new skills, or exploring your spirituality.
  • Developing coping skills, which are methods you use to deal with stressful situations. They may help you face a problem, take action, be flexible, and not easily give up in solving it.
  • Meditation, which is a mind and body practice where you learn to focus your attention and awareness. There are many types, including mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation. Meditation usually involves
    • A quiet location with as few distractions as possible
    • A specific, comfortable posture. This could be sitting, lying down, walking, or another position.
    • A focus of attention, such as a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or your breathing
    • An open attitude, where you try to let distractions come and go naturally without judging them
  • Relaxation techniques are practices you do to produce your body’s natural relaxation response. This slows down your breathing, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces muscle tension and stress. Types of relaxation techniques include
    • Progressive relaxation, where you tighten and relax different muscle groups, sometimes while using mental imagery or breathing exercises
    • Guided imagery, where you learn to focus on positive images in your mind, to help you feel more relaxed and focused
    • Biofeedback, where you use electronic devices to learn to control certain body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension
    • Self-hypnosis, where the goal is to get yourself into a relaxed, trance-like state when you hear a certain suggestion or see a specific cue
    • Deep breathing exercises, which involve focusing on taking slow, deep, even breaths

It’s also important to recognize when you need to get help. Talk therapy and/or medicines can treat mental disorders. If you don’t know where to get treatment, start by contacting your primary care provider.

Kayla Sloan

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Running your own business has a lot of great advantages. You can set your own hours, be your own boss, and work in a more relaxed atmosphere to name a few. In addition, working from home eliminates the stress of having to deal with overbearing, demanding, and demeaning bosses or coworkers.

But there are drawbacks too. For example, you don’t get paid vacations, holidays, or sick time. When you don’t work there’s no one to back you up or work those hours for you. The work is still there when you get back.

Those are not the only negative aspects. There are also tax implications to consider as well as effects on your family life.

However, if you determine the positives outweigh the negatives, there are still distractions when you work from home.


1. Kids and Other Family Members

One of the top distractions when you work from home can be your kids or spouse. Even if all of your children are all in school full time there are still probably days when special circumstances keep them at home. The same can be true of a spouse that works outside the home.

When the kids are running around, talking loudly, watching television, or fighting with each other it can be difficult to get any work done. A spouse may try to come and talk to you about critical issues or things that aren’t important at all.

2. Emails

Checking your email is likely an important part of your work. You probably have message you need to respond to in order to keep your business going.

Nevertheless, it is easy to spend more time than you should reading and answering emails.

3. Cell Phone

Cell phones are another top distraction when you work from home. You may innocently pick up your cell phone to check on a message you received and get sucked into looking at social media posts.

Or, you may be making the mistake of simply checking your phone too often. Losing productivity due to overuse of cell phones is a common problem.

4. Noise

A noisy environment is another of the top distractions when you work from home. Your kids or husband could be doing something that is so loud it interrupts your thoughts.

Additionally, it could be noise from your own creation such as a loud dishwasher or music you have playing. No matter what the cause is, too much noise can make concentration almost impossible at times.

5. Other Household Duties

Some of the top distractions when you work from home can simply be other household duties that need to be performed. If you are not working in a dedicated office space you might be able to literally see the dishes overflowing in the sink or the laundry piled up that needs folded.

It can be difficult to resist the urge to stop and complete these tasks when you are supposed to be working.

How to Avoid or Overcome Them:

1. Get Your Family Onboard

When your kids or spouse are at home while you are trying to work you need to get your family onboard. Talk with them about giving you the space and time you need to do your work.

Let them know it is important for your career and to keep the bills paid. Remind them that it takes money to take vacations and enjoy all of the fun things they have and do.

Set up a signal system that tells your family when it is ok to interrupt and when it isn’t. Make placards to hang on your closed office door. Green means it’s ok to disturb you, yellow means ask first, and red means not to come in right now.

2. Keep Your Focus

Staying focus and avoiding distractions when you work from home is not always easy. Checking your email, for instance, may be an integral part of your work.

That being said, constantly checking it is counterproductive to you getting anything done. To avoid this habit, check it first thing in the morning and again at midmorning, lunch, midafternoon, and the end of the day only.

If necessary, set a timer so you only spend 15 minutes responding to emails before moving back to your regular work.

3. Put Your Cell Phone Down

The habit of checking your cell phone is very much like that of checking your email. Simply set it aside in a designated spot and check it only right after checking your email. The rest of the time ignore it so you can concentrate on more important tasks.

4. Create a Dedicated Work Space

To keep noisy distractions at a minimum, set up a designated work space. If possible, in a separate room set up as a dedicated office. Having a permanent home for your computer, printer, filing system, and other necessary work supplies away from noise and interruptions will increase your productivity.

If you don’t have a separate room available, establish a space that is devoted only to your work. Or, invest in noise cancelling headphones.

5. Set Your Schedule

To combat one of the other top distractions when you work from home set a work schedule that you rarely deviate from. This will allow you to work when you should be and complete other household duties at designated times as well.

Do remember, however, to plan a few breaks in your day as well as a regular mealtime away from your work. This will help you stay focused when you are working and keep your energy levels at their highest.

Obviously there are a lot of distractions when you work from home. Still, the advantages can outweigh the disadvantages and be resolved if you work on them.

A Korean researcher has developed a way to turn cardboard delivery boxes into fuel

Spotted: Almost everyone has had the experience of ordering a small item from Amazon and having it arrive in a huge box. This issue has become especially noticeable since the start of the pandemic, as more people are ordering items for delivery. While most of us put those pesky cardboard boxes out for recycling, many recycling centres simply throw them away. Now, a Korean researcher may have an answer.

Sun-Mi Lee, a research scientist at the Clean Energy Research Center of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, has developed a way to turn cardboard into fuel. Her team has developed a microorganism that can turn cardboard into biodiesel. The yeast is able to convert the glucose and xylose sugars in the cardboard into combustible fats that can be used as biodiesel.

Lee’s team redesigned the metabolic pathway of the microorganism using genetic techniques to effectively control the process of evolution, for example, by selecting and cultivating only those microorganisms capable of converting the sugars into bio-diesel precursors.

According to Dr Sun-Mi Lee, “We developed a core technology that can improve the economic efficiency of biodiesel production. At a time like this, when we feel climate change in our bones due to frequent typhoons and severe weather phenomena, expanded supply of biofuels that help us cope with climate change most quickly and effectively will facilitate the expansion of related industries and the development of technology.”

Biofuels are considered a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but they come with a number of drawbacks. However, at Springwise, we have recently seen several innovations aimed at creating biofuels from other waste products. These include a process to turn waste cooking oil and old batteries into biofuel and the use of agave plants for making bio-fuel.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

14th December 2020

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Currently, biofuels are made from fermenting food crops like corn and soy to produce ethanol, or by using corn or soybean oils. However, the process for doing this is not efficient, and it uses a food source for energy, with the effect of driving up food prices. Lee’s process uses waste products instead, and could potentially reduce the amount of food diverted to producing biofuel. Of course, this does not mean that we will be shoving those Amazon boxes into our fuel tanks, but once scaled up, it could help to lower food prices, as well as make fuel more sustainable.


10 Tips to Help You Cope with Your Busy Life

We all want to be happy and successful, right? Well, yeah… obviously. Trouble is, ‘stuff’ gets in the way. All too often, it’s the little things that take up our time and attention. They pile up, distract us, and before you know it we’re up to our necks in ‘overwhelm’, with no clue how to dig ourselves out.

Question is, when this kind of *#%! happens, how do we get back on track? There’s no easy answer (it does us no good to pretend there is), BUT… it can be done!

If you ever find yourself in ‘overwhelm’ and need to get on top of things, then we’ve got 10 proven tips to help you. Here’s tips 1-9:

1. Embrace the Hard Stuff: Okay, you’re going to hate this, but ALWAYS tackle that thing (and there’s always that thing) you really don’t want to do first! Simply by getting your teeth into it, even if it’s something you can’t complete in one go, you’ll not only conquer your fears, but everything else on your plate will suddenly seem a whole lot more manageable!

2. Remove Distractions: Distractions are… aww, you’re such a cute doggie! Hold on! Wait! What. … Distractions are everywhere, and the quality of our work always suffers when we’re side-tracked. And that happens a lot, right? Because, distractions. Facebook, Instagram, texts, emails, YouTube, Twitter, the dog pulling itself like a slug across the carpet… honestly, you’re just the cutest… Hey! Focus! Put those pesky distractions aside. Get on with what you need to do.

3. Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff: Putting out the rubbish, clearing the dishwasher, cutting your toenails… those little tasks, huh? We think we can put them off forever until – ‘Wham!’ – they’re on top of us and we don’t know where to start. Don’t let this happen. Take a deep breath, look around, use the next 5 minutes to sweat the small stuff – Go!

4. Set Aside Time for Work: So obvious, but oh-so-hard, right? It’s amazing how the day can get away on us and our work gets put to one side. To overcome this, we should set aside a period of time – maybe 10 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, maybe even (gulp!) a whole hour – where we do nothing but work . Seriously. Nothing. But. Work.

5. You Don’t Need to Be a Perfetionist Perfectionist: This stops a lot of us. We’re so worried about doing something absolutely just-so that we end up doing nothing at all. Be prepared to forgive yourself (yep, we know it’s hard) if something doesn’t go exactly to plan. Better still, be proud of yourself for having given it a go.

6. Take Time Out: No matter what you’re working on, you can’t stick at it forever. It’s counter-productive. So, every once in a while, treat yourself to a break, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Meditate. Listen to some tunes. Read a book. Grab a cup of coffee. Breathe… Do whatever it takes to relax, if only for a moment. And then go back to your task. You’ll feel much better and you’ll be more focused.

7. Keep Yourself Motivated: Set yourself goals and make a timeframe in which to achieve them (like finishing this article before getting some lunch because, dude, sooo hungry right now). And reward yourself when you get something done. Alternatively – and serial procrastinators, listen up – you might look to punish yourself in some small way for not getting something done (No lunch. It’s too horrible to even contemplate…).

8. Make Yourself Accountable to Others: Be loud. Be proud. Let people know what you’re going to accomplish and the tasks for which you’re responsible. This not only puts your skin in the game, it shares accountability and motivates everyone.

9. Focus On the End Goal: It’s vital you have a big picture goal for yourself or your family (two weeks at a 5-star tropical resort, anyone?). Keep it in mind at all times and keep going for it, even when that niggly little distraction we call ‘life’ gets in the way.

And there you have it, tips 1-9 to help manage the subtle but oh-so-difficult art of actually getting things done. We’ll deal with Tip 10 in Part 2 of our article. Needless to say, it’s important.

How to cope with more of those pesky distractions

Whether it’s the copywriter who incessantly talks to you about her family drama or the account executive who steals food from the company fridge, we’ve all dealt with annoying co-workers in the office at some point or another.

Of course, colleagues who drive you crazy also pose a problem: How do you deal with them without leaving a bad impression?

Have no fear, because we’ve searched the great depths of the web to find the best resources on handling those pesky people in the office. You’ll be a work relationships master in no time.

  1. Trust me, you’re not alone: Here are the 15 most annoying co-workers ever (and, shocker: Everyone deals with them). (LinkedIn)
  2. Building on that, there are definitely ways to handle each individual infuriating co-worker case; it’s not one-size-fits-all. (DailyWorth)
  3. If you’re worried that you’re the only person dealing with a frustrating colleague, don’t be; research found that one in eight people leave a job due to “incivility.” (Entrepreneur)
  4. It’s easy to reach a breaking point with loud, gossipy colleagues, so drown them out with these five awesome apps. (Fast Company)
  5. Sometimes when you’re dealing with an obnoxious team member, it’s best to find a bigger enemy. (Inc.)
  6. If you’re dealing with a perpetually late co-worker, here’s the fix you’ve always been waiting for: the Whisky Rule. (Lifehacker)
  7. Obviously, it’s easy to be annoyed with other people, but it’s also important to take a step back and think about what irritating office habits you have that drive others crazy. (Forbes)
  8. All in all, look on the bright side: Your co-worker isn’t as awful as David Thorne. (Elite Daily)

Need more help dealing with annoyances in the office? Check out some of our suggestions!