7 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Diversions

We’ve all been there. Even with our good intentions to stay on task, we often find ourselves scrolling through social networks when we should be working on a project. Every notification triggers our phones, and we can’t help but reach for our phones. There’s also email! We are worried about missing important information if we don’t check it every five minutes.

Distractions can seem difficult to avoid. According to statistics, distractions lead to productivity losses of up to 50%. An average manager is interrupted approximately every eight minutes. 

What can you do to regain control your attention and time? Here are few seven proven methods that will help you overcome distractions to regain focus.

1.Put yourself in distraction-free mode.

You can start to build habits that make it easier to stay focused and remove distractions. Create an environment that makes easier to focus on what you are doing. It is not always easy. While many people rely on computers for work, they also find the internet one of their biggest distractions. Use a website blocking app if you find yourself constantly wandering over to shopping and video sites.

Create habits that signal to you and others that you aren’t distracted. Shut the door to your office. Use noise-canceling headphones. Turn off your phone, set it to silent, and then move it away so it can’t be picked up quickly. It may be helpful to find a quieter place if you work in an open environment. Studies show that distractions occur 64% more often at open offices. We also get interrupted more often in these environments.

Eliminate as many distractions and excuses as possible so you can concentrate on one task at a given time.

2.Every day, you should have three primary goals.

An overwhelming list of things can seem daunting and make it challenging to keep up with them all. When we are ready to give up, it’s easy for us to succumb to distractions. To counter this, set three goals that you must accomplish each day. You can write down on a sticky label and place them anywhere you can see them every time you look up at your work.

Limiting the number of daily goals will help you to know what you have to accomplish each day. These tasks will help you work more intently and make your mind less likely for distractions.

Ask yourself each morning: What three things are most important? All other tasks should be placed on a separate list. After you’ve achieved the three main goals, you can move on to the next job.

3.Allow yourself to work in a shorter timeframe.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you get more done if you work longer hours. Parkinson’s Law defines that “work tends to expand to fill the time we have available for its completion.” Because our brains are wired to store energy, this is why we serve any time left with distractions. Likely, we won’t do something if it’s not necessary. Instead, we will let ourselves be seduced by a YouTube video or a mobile game.

Conversely, when faced with deadlines, we can suddenly become laser-focused and avoid distractions at any cost. If you are clear about what you must do, you will find a way.

Give yourself a shorter timeframe to complete your work to eliminate distractions. This is similar to setting a deadline for yourself, but it’s backed up by something that makes you accountable. Tell your boss, client, or coworker that you’ll send them a draft of your project by the end. Look for an accountability partner that will keep you on track and hold you accountable to your deadline. No matter how you do it, setting a strict deadline will ensure you don’t get distracted and help you increase your productivity.

4.Pay attention to what your mind is going to do.

One Harvard study found that nearly half of people spend their waking hours thinking about things other than what they should be doing. In part, our minds wander to avoid the need to concentrate on something. We are on autopilot. You can increase your productivity by being aware of distractions in your mind and focusing your attention on the task at hand.

This means being aware of your thoughts were alert when you start drifting. This helps you control your focus and redirects your thoughts when things get out of control. Instead of scrolling through social media looking for updates, you can actively block this distraction.

Be aware of distractions that can be difficult to avoid so you can get rid of them earlier. Take a slow and deep breath, and resist the urge to respond to a distraction. After you give in to temptation and allow yourself to concentrate on other things, like reading emails or surfing the internet, it will be harder to regroup and return your attention to the task at hand.

Keep your mind occupied with your thoughts instead of jumping between tasks and distractions.

5.You can train your brain by creating a game.

Your mind can be described as a muscle. It would be best if you learned how to use it efficiently. It is essential to develop your ability to focus by slowly improving your concentration. This will increase our ability to focus for more extended periods.

This is an excellent way to get started. The Pomodoro Method allows you to set a timer so that you can be focused entirely on one task for 45 minutes. Take a 15-minute break.

If you find 45 minutes too long, try starting with 25 minutes. Then, take a five-minute rest. You can make it a game and work hard until the clock rings. Allow yourself to indulge in any distractions that you desire, but only for the time allotted.

It’s back to business until the timer rings. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish with this method.

6.Do more challenging work.

You may have trouble focusing and are constantly distracted. This could indicate that your work is not engaging you fully. It might seem like you work hard, but your mind could fight boredom and seek out something more.

Complex tasks are more demanding on our attention and working memory. This means that we have less mental space to go to the nearest distracting distraction. Our abilities are often challenged, and we tend to fall into a state that is immersed in work. When our skills are far beyond the requirements of our work, like when we enter data for long periods without thinking, we get bored.

Evaluate the amount of nonproductive busywork that you are doing. Is it hard to be involved in the project? This could indicate your ability to take on more challenging tasks. If we are given more complicated work, it can cause us to become overwhelmed and hyper-focused. Our minds can focus on anything novel, enjoyable, or threatening. This provides us with a feeling of accomplishment when we complete these tasks.

It is difficult to feel fulfilled when doing a job we consider tedious.

7.Disconnect from the cycle of stress and distraction.

Stress can also contribute to our inability or inability to focus. All too often, we feel overwhelmed while trying to concentrate on work. We become frazzled and tired, easily distracted, and unable to focus. This can be a sign that you were under high stress.

It has even been called “easily distracting anxiety.”

  • Your mind wanders, and you have trouble in concentrating.
  • You are more trouble than usual with thinking and staying on the right track.
  • Your review becomes jumbled and impaired.
  • You notice that your short-term memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be.

Stress management will help you to regain focus and overcome distractions. For your body to be less stressed, you need to find ways to relax and calm down. Sleep is essential. Use breathing exercises to manage your anxiety.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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