You’re about to draft an important email, but it seems impossible to resist the temptation of scrolling Facebook or Instagram feed aimlessly. The task which you would have completed in ten minutes will now take thirty or more. Sigh!
Distractions are everywhere. A survey conducted by Udemy shows that around 50% of employees are less productive at workplaces due to distractions. Moreover, 20% of employees are unable to excel in their career and find it difficult to reach their full potential because of the distractions. Before diving deep into the science behind distractions, let us look at the different types of distractions.
- External Distractions: These distractions include social interactions, phone calls, emails, music, and other visual and hearing triggers.
- Internal Distractions: These distractions include overthinking, daydreaming, illness, fatigue, and other obsessive thoughts or conflicts in your mind.
While external distractions are easy to deal with, internal distractions require extra efforts. However, there are different ways available across the internet to avoid all such distractions. You can meditate to stay focused or you can watch motivating videos on YouTube. Another effective way is to shut down your cell phone to avoid distractions. Unfortunately, none of them seems to be working when you actually try to focus. Why?
It is because you are changing the process, but you’re not changing yourself. In order to change yourself, first, you’ll need to understand why do we get distracted?
The amount of distraction from any given task depends on the importance of that specific task in your life. If something you’re doing is not important enough to pay 100% attention, then you’ll surely get distracted. But it’s not that simple. You can also get distracted even when you’re doing something which is extremely important to you. For instance, you can easily get distracted while preparing for an exam or applying for a promotion at your job.
So, you can also get distracted when you think you have enough time to complete the task at hand. Your subconscious mind allows you to get distracted because completing a module in an hour instead of 20 minutes won’t make any big difference if that exam is scheduled to happen after a month. Similarly, filling up an application for your promotion can wait as the time to meet the deadline is weeklong. Time plays a pivotal role in avoiding as well as embracing distractions.
Those who say distraction is inevitable do not understand distractions. I dare you to afford getting distracted when you’re sitting in an exam hall with only 15 minutes remaining to answers the larger number of leftover questions. I dare you to distract yourself from completing a presentation that you’ll have to present in a seminar starting in the next 20 minutes.
As professional golfer Tom Kite says, “You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one”. Avoiding distractions isn’t difficult if you’re willing to change yourself while focusing on your chief goal.
Below you can find some effective ways to avoid distractions and stay focused throughout your life.
1. Don’t Multitask
Human Brain is not designed to multitask. There are various studies to prove it. In order to keep yourself focused, take a single task at a time and make sure you’ll complete it before switching to another task. This will reduce your chance of getting distracted and help you focus on the task at hand.
2. The Interval Technique
One of the biggest reasons to deviate from your task is boredom. You feel bored when your subconscious mind thinks you’re doing something monotonous. So, it is important to take breaks at small intervals in order to make sure that you’ll stay focused.
3. Reward Yourself
We tend to focus more if we’re offered an incentive to get the job done. This technique is already used by various schools, colleges and offices. Deadlines, targets, and all other bonuses are there to help you gain focus. If you’ll reward yourself with an incentive or bonus on completing all important tasks, you’ll get them done faster without getting distracted.
4. Ideal Environment
Surroundings play a major role in keeping you focused. Some people find it easy to work in a group, while others prefer working alone without any disturbance. Some people can work better during the day, while some others prefer working at night. Find the best setup that suits you and plan all the important tasks according to your ideal environment.
5. Stay Hydrated
More than 70% of your brain is made up of water. If you won’t keep it hydrated, it’ll result in fatigue, stress, and other focus-related issues. Make sure to always carry a water bottle with you to ensure a better concentration and mental alertness.
6. Be Positive
Negativity and self-doubt are the distractions that will stop you from focusing on a task at hand by increasing stress and anxiety. A study shows that thinking positively will help you avoid getting involved in any such unhealthy behavior and also help you to be efficient and successful.
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