Distractions are the bane of focus and productivity. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to focus deeply only to find yourself constantly distracted from your task. This frustrating, dispiriting experience is sadly all too common. What is needed are some tried and true tactics to battle this problem. Here are six things to do that should help you.
Sometimes, the thing most distracting from work is other work. If you have too much on your plate, you may find yourself anxiously jumping from one project to another, without making serious progress anywhere. The solution is to prioritize. Determine which task is most important, and set the rest temporarily aside.
Work in intervals.
Concentrating completely for hours on end is not really feasible. Demanding too much from yourself will only damage productivity. It is better to break up your time into periods of full effort punctuated with brief rests. One popular method is the Pomodoro Technique. This method requires 25 minutes of steady work, followed by a 3-5 minute break.
Get started right away.
Too many people begin their workday by sitting down and immediately going to YouTube, Instagram, or some other time-wasting site. This sets the wrong tone for the whole day. Jump right into your work instead. Doing so will signal to yourself that your work is actually more important than distractions.
Break down work into parts.
A huge project can be intimidating, sapping willpower, and quickly leading to distraction. Better to take on just a small portion at one time. Break your projects down into smaller, more manageable chunks. It’s like climbing a tall mountain: instead of gazing at the peak, focus on each individual step.
If you can’t access a distraction, it can’t affect you. Rather than engaging in a continuously difficult battle with a distraction, just get rid of it. If the internet is the problem, download productivity software to block time-wasting sites or turn off your connection entirely (provided you can work without it). If it’s the TV, hide your remote. If you’re in a noisy area, move somewhere else.
Remember why the work is important.
Frequently, the real source of distraction is a lack of motivation. If your work seems pointless, distractions will be much harder to resist. Presumably, there is some good reason why you decided to engage in your task. Recall this reason and rededicate yourself to zeroing in.
The world is probably more distracting in modern times than it has ever been before. Digital technology means that incredible wealth of distractions are perpetually only one click away. Other forms of distraction (such as daydreaming) are also still around. All of this combines to create a situation in which knowing how to avoid distractions is very important.