Why It’s So Hard to Get Work Done Right Now

Why It’s So Hard to Get Work Done Right Now

Presidential politics has always been a hot-button issue, especially at the office. But this year's election was one of the most divisive in recent history—and there have been few signs that the contentiousness will ease up anytime soon.

And as a result of being preoccupied with politics, you may be getting less done during the workday: A new survey by performance management software company BetterWorks found that 29% of workers have felt less productive since the November election.


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Part of that can be blamed on discussions among coworkers about what’s going on in the White House and on Capitol Hill. According to the survey, 73% of respondents said they’ve talked politics with their colleagues, while 37% have talked about it with their boss or manager.

And these discussions can apparently get more heated than your run-of-the-mill break-room chat: 49% of respondents said they've witnessed a political conversation turn into an argument; among Millennials, that number skyrockets to 63%.

Refreshing your Facebook feed all day long isn't helping, either. The survey found that 87% of workers read political social media posts during the workday, with the average number of posts at 14. Twenty-one percent of respondents say they read 20 or more a day—which means they spend almost two hours a day reading about politics on their social media channels.

It's clear that all these tense work conversations and social media updates aren’t going to go away anytime soon. But wherever you stand on the political spectrum, don't let your productivity become a casualty. These simple strategies will keep you focused on your work, not your Facebook feed.

Take a stand. No, not politically—that might just get you sucked into a job-ending argument. Instead, stand up when coworkers stop by your work station to chat. It’s a productivity trick that makes it much easier to cut a conversation short, either by walking away or sitting back down to get back to work.

Set social media time limits. Vow to log off for a chunk of time so you can concentrate on your work. Then once you've made headway, allow yourself a few minutes to scroll through your feeds. Research suggests that most of us can’t focus on one thing for longer than 90 minutes anyway, so do your work in 90-minute blocks before rewarding yourself with 10 minutes of catching up on your social media of choice.

Remain neutral. Let's say a colleague tries to lure you into a political convo. One way to resist is by offering up vague, deflective statements such as “I hear you,” or “Yep, I saw that too.” If coworkers send politically oriented emails or chats, resist sending a response so you don't get sucked into a day-long cyber discussion on work channels.

RELATED: Feeling Burned Out at Work? Here's How to Fall Back in Love With Your Job


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