How to Stay Focused in an Increasingly Distracting World
Absentmindedly, you reach for your phone.
You open your favorite app.
Nothing has changed since you last did this 10 minutes ago, but you kind of forgot that you’d just done this.
So, you open a different app… but you were just there, too.
Does this sound familiar?
Sometimes, we convince ourselves we’re being super productive by staying up to date with the latest news and happenings on social media and responding to emails immediately. The reality of the matter, though, is you are distracting yourself from bigger things.
- When you’re at work your focus should be on work.
- When you’re at home your focus should be on your home life.
In a world full of increasing distraction, it is no wonder that without techniques we are likely to find it difficult to stay focused. This is costing you, both in terms of personal energy and in terms of staying in ‘flow’.
If we concentrate on one item at a time, we tend to find that we stay focused on that activity and deliver a higher quality of output for ourselves, our clients, and our contacts.
It’s time to take back control by using these quick and easy ‘stay focused‘ techniques.
No More Notifications
Open your phone settings right now and go in and turn off notifications. You don’t need an update about who sent what Tweet yesterday but it’s time for you to see it now. You don’t need a constant stream of distressing news updates breaking your focus. Check your social media at set times, do the same for email, and ignore it the rest of the time.
There are apps and functions on the phone that can assist you to stay focused.
On some Android phones, you can turn on Zen mode. Turning on Zen Mode forces you to stop using your phone for a set amount of time. Once you turn the feature on, there is no going back: even restarting your phone won’t turn it off. The default active time is 20 minutes, so you will need to wait at least 20 minutes before your phone returns to normal.Android Authority
There are other tools that act as a stay focused website blocker. An app that runs on Google Chrome, StayFocused, prevents you from accessing time-wasting websites.
A Healthy Routine
You can improve your focus by establishing a healthy daily routine.
When you set your routine and you get used to it you don’t have to waste time thinking about what comes next. It’s why people like Steve Jobs did and Mark Zuckerberg does wear the same outfit from one day to the next!
Perhaps a way for you to look at repetitive decisions, is to make a note of the second time in a day or week you do something.
What decisions can you take that will lead to an action to stay focused better? This then becomes recommended actionable tasks to benefit your productivity.
What does your day look like? What is on your to-do list? The best way to avoid distractions is to rank your tasks in order of priority. It can be overwhelming when you think about all of the things you need to do, by putting them in order, you remove the stress and overwhelm.
Say No To Multi-tasking
Are you a multi-tasker? If yes, are you good at it?
If yes, I am sorry, but you’re likely to be wrong.
There was a myth a few years ago that women were better at multi-tasking than men. Regardless of gender, when you put down and pick up your next task, you use energy and lose efficiency. Your attempt at multi-tasking is slowing you down, reducing your productivity, and you’re not doing each task as well as you could be.
By multi-tasking, you contribute to distractions. So stop convincing yourself otherwise and stay focused on one thing at a time
When your schedule is going haywire, when the world is throwing distractions in your face it’s difficult to take a moment for yourself. However, renewal is vital. As your energy dips, memory is fading, and you can feel the stress creeping in, it is important that you withdraw from that and take time to regenerate.
In summary, we know that trying to stay focused is tough. It is a habit that we need to invest energy in to adjust the way that we do stuff. If you work hard to manage your exposure to social media, build up a healthy routine to minimise routine decisions, prioritise the things that are important, stop multi-tasking and know when to take a break, you will be in a better place and have taken that first step to improving your performance.