• Annoying coworkers can disrupt your productivity at work
  • Get help to stop their annoying behaviors so that you can focus
  • Adjust your mindset to make things easier to cope
There you are, just plugging away, doing your thing at your desk and trying to get shit done.

You’re on the verge of getting in the zone with work. You know the kind. It’s when you’re so intensely focused on something that you’re in your own world and hours just seem to fly by. This is when you’re crushing it at work.

But then, just as you’re about to enter productivity nirvana, it happens.

Annoying Adam starts his usual series of involuntary and repetitive things that drive you up the fucking wall. Every. Single. Time.

On some days, it’s the rapid-fire tapping of the pen on the desk. On other days, it’s the restless leg shaking. Then, there’s the whole back-n-forth rocking of his squeaky chair.

If it’s not Annoying Adam, then it’s Do-Nothing Doris that will stop by your area and do her normal rounds of gossiping and chatting about stupid bullshit things. Once she has you locked-up in conversation, you’re trapped for at least 30 minutes.

These are the times where you gotta do something about annoying coworkers before you lose your shit.

How Annoyances Kill Productivity

Anything that takes your concentration away from your work isn’t a good thing. Distractions derail your focus and it makes it that much harder to get back on track. And, annoying coworkers in particular are often the source of these distractions.

It gets especially distracting when the interruptions are prolonged sessions. You just can’t get away from it mentally. Once your mind latches on to the nuisance, it’s nearly impossible to let that shit go.

In fact, sometimes, your mind will amplify it by focusing on the annoyance 100%. This is when it drives you fucking nuts and you can’t focus on work.

According to this study, when you get interrupted by distractions, it can take you a while to get your thoughts back in order and continue from where you left off. This can take at least fifteen minutes to recover, sometimes longer.

Now, imagine this happening over and over in a series of annoying patterns and you can easily see how it can kill your productivity. You just get knocked out of your work flow mindset. You start falling behind on tasks. And as a result, you get overwhelmed AF, work piles up and things get delayed.

This is when it’s hard to keep your momentum going and work starts to get out of control. And when you feel like you don’t have control, that’s when it gets really hard to manage work stress.

This is why you need to address it sooner rather than later.

What To Do When Your Coworker Is Annoying The Fuck Out Of You

One thing is for sure - you can’t take this shit anymore and you’ve gotta do something about it soon or else you just might blow up. But, you don’t want to look like the office asshole and start screaming at your annoying coworker - which would feel sooo fucking good.

As much as that would bring a ton of relief, you can’t do that ‘cause it’ll just wreck your personal brand at work. You gotta keep cool and stay professional.

You’ve gotta find the right balance of stopping the annoying behavior so that you can be productive and not overstepping your bounds into other people’s work styles.

In some cases, the annoying thing is part of the person’s work and thus, there’s not a whole helluva lot that you can do about it.

It’s like Nina from corporate accounts payable at Initech.

VIDEO: Office Space - Just A Moment
YOUTUBE: Niksa Franceschi
LENGTH: 00:31
Situations like the “just a moment” drone - well, there’s isn’t much you can do about that. But, we’re guessing that what you’re having to deal with is far beyond this.

So, here are five simple things that you can do today to help you find that right balance.

1) Check Yourself By Asking Others

One of the first things that you need to do is to check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self. Meaning, you need to see if the annoying coworker’s habits are just annoying to you or if it’s universally annoying to others too.

Ask your other desk neighbors if they find the behavior annoying or not. And, don’t bias the question either. Just ask in a very straightforward manner and see what their answer is.

If your neighbors immediately respond that it is totally annoying, then you’re not crazy for thinking the same. Now, you’ve got some allies to help your cause.

If others didn’t even notice or don’t find it annoying at all, then this is probably going to be something that you need to manage on your own.

2) Speak Up And Say Something

If you have some allies that share the same sentiments as you, then ask them if they can join you in having an upfront convo with the offender. This way, the other person will know that it’s not just affecting you, but others as well.

Now, you guys need to be polite and professional about this. You don’t want to come across as teaming up on the other person. Be diplomatic and tactful about it. Frame the discussion around cubicle etiquette and courtesy for the sake of everybody’s productivity.

There’s a good chance that the other person never even realized that their behavior was annoying or distracting to others in the office. So, it’s a good idea to give them the benefit of the doubt.

3) Get HR Involved To Take Action

If none of your allies want to get involved and/or you want to avoid any kind of confrontation, then, reach out to human resources to do the grunt work for you - that’s what they’re there to help with.

Talk to your HR person and explain the situation and how it’s negatively impacting your productivity. Be specific about it. The more details that you can provide the easier it will be for them to approach the annoyer about it.

As an option, you can also send them an anonymous note about it too - that is if you have the means to do so. If not, just let your HR person know that you don’t want to be identified as the person bringing it up. They’ll respect your confidentiality.

4) Drown Out The Distractions

One way to take matters into your own hands is to develop your own countermeasures - your own fix.

Nowadays, pretty much everyone has a set of headphones at their desk. Listening to music and/or other sounds can really help you to focus in a noisy office and get shit done.

There are a bunch of awesome ways to mask and drown out office noise including those annoying ones from your coworker.

You can listen to your fav tunes, background soundscapes, podcasts or whatever else that you enjoy that will take your mind off of the annoyance and back onto work.

And, don’t use this as an excuse to go and buy some high-dollar noise cancelling headphones. You don’t need those. A simple set of headphones or earphones will work just fine.

5) Reframe Your Mindset

Yes, the annoying thing is probably driving you insane, but let’s be honest here. Is it life-threatening? Is it going to kill you, right there at your desk?


If you take a much bigger perspective on this, you’ll see that it’s not that bad. Things can be a whole lot worse.

You have an office job in a climate controlled environment. You’re not slaving away doing hard labor outside in blazing summer heat or freezing yourself numb in some arctic expedition (although admittedly, some office AC do blast out freezing air).

Or for another extreme, at least you’re not being physically tortured in some repressive country.

You see what we’re getting at here?

In the grand scheme of things, you’ve got it pretty good. There are millions of people out in the world that would do anything to be in your shoes right now.

So, focus on what’s good and be grateful because gratitude makes office life easier - for real.

Don’t Get Annoyed, Get Productive

Nobody likes to be in a work environment that is full of distractions or interruptions. But, when it’s annoyances from a coworker that is having a direct negative impact on your productivity, you gotta do something about it.

You have a lot of pent-up frustration and anger about these annoyances, but don’t feel like you don’t have any outlet or a solution, because you actually do.

For your particular Annoying Adam or Do-Nothing Doris, you have the power to do something about it. Dealing with pain in the ass coworkers is never easy, but you can do this.

Think through how you can talk to them about stopping their behavior, how you can get HR involved or how you can creatively mask and/or drown out the noises. You gotta work the problem and you’ll find a good solution.

You can and will get back to your productive groove.

Feel Better,

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