06/06/2013 08:15 am ET

Distracted At Work? 5 Obstacles Getting In Your Way, And How To Get Past Them

By Sam Ferrigno for HooplaHa.com

We've all been there -- eager to accomplish anything but the task at hand. Here are some things to keep in mind next time you're feeling distracted at work.

1. Hunger
Unless you’re a chef, you’re probably starving all the time at work. Eating provides a terrific distraction from what you really have to do; snacks are like the edible version of the Internet. Of course we really have to eat, but we’re not woodland creatures who need to stuff our cheeks with nuts for the winter. I know that’s not going to stop you from gnawing on your desk on those really monotonous days. You might be eating out of stress. Bring snacks to work that are proven to relieve stress: Things like almonds, blueberries, cantaloupe and broccoli will all help calm your nerves and quell the beast from within that demands a crunchy sacrifice every other minute.

2. Friends
Usually, we WANT our friends to interrupt our workday. Is it not the greatest news in the world to look at your phone and see your best friend text, “Happy hour?” But sometimes, the constant g-chatting is an unwanted distraction. It's important to remember that you don't always have to respond immediately. Know that you’re not a bad friend if you wait until after work to read the long email, or get in touch over the phone. If it’s an emergency, your friend will let you know. Acknowledge that you’ve heard from them, and get on with your day. With good friends, there will always be time for happy hour, even if it’s too late to go to the bar.

3. Relationship Woes
Dating isn’t easy. Everyone wants a prince charming -- until it comes time to accept the flaws of the person you're spending intimate time with. All too easily we think, “There’s probably someone who doesn’t laugh like a goose, right?” Though it might suck the drama out of the situation, the truth is that you’re not alone. Even those who’ve been with the same person for five years get annoyed by the person they go home to after work. Take the time during lunch to vent with a co-worker to be reminded of this. Commiserating on frustration (especially when it comes to romance) is good therapy -- if you do it in moderation.

4. Vacation
We all have that thought from time to time: When am I going to get OUT of here? Taking a vacation is a smart idea: You'll not only be off the clock, but also in a different town or continent. You don’t even have to have planned one to think about it. Hell, you don’t even necessarily have to want to go on vacation to think about it. Whether it’s going, planning to go or considering the fact that maybe we’re working too much, time-off is on the brain. No matter how much we might love our jobs, we all need it. Personally, I find comfort in using this as a goal. Putting extra hours in is like saving up in a time bank. Hard work now, pays off later in the currency of quiet hours.

5. The Dreaded, What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life Conundrum (And Other Internal Discussions That Make Us Doubt Ourselves)
Call me 20-something, but I want perfection NOW. By “perfection,” I of course mean a life that is by all ways fulfilling, thrilling and lucrative. I want my work to be profound, I want every assignment to excite me, and I want it to make me stupidly wealthy. You don’t have to be on the board of MENSA to know life does not work this way. When we’re reminded of that, we wish for something better, and the wishing is a mistake. The people who have reached stardom spent less time wishing, and more time working. Wishing leads to laziness, which begets misery. Misery is the quickest path to the delusion of being owed something without earning it. Instead, work for the day -- not the week, or the year. Later, do some research and talk to successful family members and friends. Learn from their example and invest that knowledge into your happiness. Find comfort in knowing that time travels quicker than we think, and that change is a natural part of life. Don’t waste time being anxious about your current job, work hard so that you can later greet the change on the horizon.



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