End distractions and find your focus
End distractions and find your focus
Did you know that there are two types of distractions? Most people blame external distractions when they can’t concentrate, but in our own experience, more than 80% of the time we are distracted internally. The problem is that we don’t even realize we are getting distracted and time just passes.
This is a distraction you have inside your brain. It refers to mental blocks that prevent you from staying focused.
The most common distraction we encounter is that we have too many choices at hand.
Have you ever thought about why it’s so easy to start and finish a movie on an airplane? It’s because your
options are limited. You have limited options of reasons to choose from, you don’t have Wifi (on most planes), there’s no room to walk around, and there’s not even a cooler you can open.
A lot of people find it hard to concentrate at home because you have so many options to choose from.
You can feed a dog, read a book, watch TV, cook, etc.
Your brain prioritizes tasks based on your current need and satisfaction. In other words, you prioritize based on your short-term benefit or satisfaction, rather than long-term benefit.
External distraction is a type of distraction that comes to you from outside. Some examples are emails and message notifications, and people approaching you when you are in the middle of a task.
Coping with distractions and staying focused
If you ever find yourself wasting the day, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can regain your focus and get important things done. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Eliminate your options
As mentioned in the previous section, your internal distraction is often overlooked. So how do you
not get distracted by too many options?
Reduce or eliminate your options: For example, if you’re in your room and you have the option to turn on the TV, pick up the phone to play games, or grab the bag of chips on your desk to start snacking, get rid of them.
You can hide the remote control, turn off the cell phone and put the chips in the kitchen or anywhere it won’t take 20 minutes to get rid of them.
Step 2: Create mental stop signs
In this highly connected world, many things can serve you 24 hours a day and give you endless information and resources. For example, YouTube always recommends the next video to you
next video every time you finish one. If you don’t stop before playing the next recommended video, you’ll be watching all of YouTube. So, to regain your concentration, create mental stop signs.
A typical stop sign is a time limit. Set a time limit for anything you do. When you scroll through Facebook, ask it to stop in 15 minutes. You can even use a timer to monitor yourself.
The second type is the progress limit. Set a time limit for the progress of what you are doing. For example, when you start watching YouTube, you ask yourself to stop after you finish 2
Step 3: Control your focus environment
It is in human nature to be triggered by our five senses constantly. This is how our attention is affected by our five senses:
- Sound (e.g., chatter, pets, white noise, music).
- Touch (e.g., the comfort of the chair, the clothes, the cleanliness of the table).
- Sight (e.g., screen, wallpaper, environment, peripheral vision)
- Smell (e.g., smell of coffee, smell of nature)
- Taste (e.g., the aftertaste in your mouth, what you are eating or chewing)
If you want to stay focused, choose a place where your attention is not triggered by any
of these five senses.
Take control of your time
If your unproductive days are starting to beat your productive ones, it’s time to find out where your distractions originate and put a stop to them.