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How to Deal with Distracting Coworkers

The chatty Cathy, the loud talker, the gossiper, the complainer, the know-it-all… the list goes on and on. You can’t pick your “work family” and while some of your coworkers, managers and bosses may teach you, motivate you, and inspire you everyday... others may annoy you, distract you, and prevent you from working efficiently day in and day out. Whether it’s your standard 9-5 office job or you’re working somewhere behind a bar… we’re all at work to do one common thing and that’sto work.So, what can be done about distracting coworkers who are preventing you from getting all of that work actually done?

Listen to music. Silence your distracting coworker by putting in headphones and jamming out to music that helps you focus.

Separate yourself. If they eat lunch in the breakroom, go outside and enjoy your lunch break on a park bench.

Set a time limit at the start of the conversation. Say something like, “I’d love to hear your story, but I only have three minutes before my next call, so make it quick!”

Send physical signals. Continue to look at your computer while chatty cathy is interrupting your workflow or get up with some papers or your laptop to indicate that you have somewhere to be (or rather, work to be doing).

Stress your workload. Try saying, “Sorry, I’m on a deadline, can I catch up with you later?”

Be honest. Politely tell distracting coworkers to respect your space and only to speak to you if it is work related.

Stay positive. Dwelling on the negative issues can distract you from being productive.

At the end of the day, you are in control of how you spend your time at work. Time management is a major aspect of completing tasks and handling a heavy workload. By limiting distractions, you provide yourself more time to excel at what you should be doing (which is why you are there in the first place)!

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