Did you know that for every distraction, you will have to wait for at least 25 minutes before things return to normal? Yeah, I didn’t know that either. That’s why increasing your focus is vital.
The truth is, distractions are now a part of everyday life. Notifications, email, the Internet, social media, colleagues… these are but a few of the many obstacles we face today. And if you have ever struggled with any of these, you aren’t alone.
For example, Facebook and email bombarded me during my last summer break. I knew I had to work, but the temptation to check each of them was constantly on my mind. Also, I found that during conversations, no matter how engaged I am, whenever my phone would vibrate my focus immediately dropped to zero.
Over the course of a month, I have adopted 5 techniques to help me get rid of – or at least minimize – distractions. And I’ve found that these methods give significant results in a short amount of time.
1. Get Simple
One of the main reasons I got distracted from working was the fact that I used Word for writing. Though I have nothing against Microsoft, Word simply sucks when you want to focus on writing. There are just so many options at the top of my screen that it’s hard to focus on doing the task at hand. That’s why I switched to plain text writing – it’s simple and helps me focus.
I urge you to do the same. Simplicity breeds focus. Once you have nothing to do other than work, you will work.
2. Fight tech with tech
If you’ve found that technology is your biggest time waster, then fight it – with the right software. A popular one is StayFocusd for Chrome. This app helps in increasing your focus by blocking distracting webpages from the Internet. And if you ever visit these pages? You get this:
Now, what if something came to your mind while working? Something like: “What was the name of the character who *place name of actor here* acted in *place name of film here*?” Good question! Read the next point.
3. Create a Distraction List
Sometimes you will get distracted by a thought that disrupts your focus. When this happens, the last thing you want to do is tell it to go away, as this usually doesn’t work.
So what does? A distraction list. To make this, just create a new text file. Not in Evernote. Not a Word document. A text file.
Now, rename it to “Distraction list”. After doing so, place it in your desktop. Whenever you have a thought, you can just open the file and type the thought down. These are usually things you won’t come back to again, but writing them down usually helps to clear your mind.
4. Go offline
Most distractions you get come from the Internet. While using the right software can help a lot, it still helps to go offline for at least an hour each day.
If you ever decide to do this, do it in the morning. Unless you’ve just napped, your energy levels in the afternoon are not as high as when you’ve just woken up. Therefore, in the morning just after you wake up, go offline for an hour and get on with doing whatever you are supposed to be doing.
5. Turn off notifications
Even if you go offline, there is still another thing you should worry about: notifications. How do you stop them? Well, you simply turn them off!
Both Android and iOS let you do this. Check out this tutorial on how to go about it. And while notifications can still exist on the Mac and PC, they aren’t as bad as what you get from a mobile phone.
So there you go! Five techniques in increasing your focus that you could adopt in the next 5 minutes. Make sure to adopt one tonight to get rid of distractions and do what is actually important.