Workplace distractions are on the rise. In fact, a new study shows that workers are now interrupted about every three minutes, on average. Some interruptions are unavoidable, because they come with the job, like pausing to attend meetings, or read work-related emails. But a growing number of interruptions are self-created – like when we pause to check our cellphone, answer a text message, or post something on Facebook.

Experts say the problem with so many workplace distractions is that they’re killing our focus and productivity because once we’re thrown off track, research shows that it can take us up to 23 minutes to return to the original task! And that leads to more stress because then we have even less time to get things done. So what’s the fix? Some solutions may sound obvious. For example:

  • A growing number of companies are enforcing “no gadget” policies, where workers turn off cellphones and tablets during the work day.

  • Other companies are banning emails. Instead, they’re requiring workers to handle all urgent messages the old fashioned way - by either picking up the phone, or having face-to-face conversations.  

  • Some companies are also limiting the number of projects employees can work on at one time. That way, employees can’t multi-task – which is proven to slow us down.

  • And get this: Some companies are now blocking managers from scheduling meetings – or sending emails - so workers have a chance to do “heads-down, focused work.” Experts say that’s a reaction to workers who complain that they can’t get anything done, because the boss is always calling meetings!