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How to Handle Distractions

How to Handle Distractions

How to Handle Distractions

Nowadays, we live in a world full of distractions. Everyone wants a piece of your brain; from Donald Trump, to the person sitting next to you.

In order to work well, you must be able to concentrate. The mind does not work well when distracted.

And not only are you distracted by external influences; you can also distract yourself. Sometimes your mind will wander off topic and you find yourself working on everything, but finishing nothing.

How can you train yourself to handle distractions and transform it into mental focus? Here are the steps:

  1. Simply DECIDE to focus your mind, and NOT to be easily distracted.
  2. Make a written list of the three most important tasks.
  3. Change your surroundings.
  4. Tell other people you are occupied and must not be disturbed for an hour.
  5. Keep your mind on the task at hand.
  6. Take regular breaks.
  7. Drink plenty of water.
  8. Review the situation regularly.

Simply DECIDE to focus your mind and NOT to be so easily distracted.

The first and most important step to being less distracted, is simply to decide to be more focused.

Switching on your mind is not an automatic act, it has to be willed.

You have to use your will power to engage your brain and focus your attention onto a single point.

Imagine that inside your brain, there is an ON /OFF switch. Flick the switch to "ON".

Make a written list of the next three most important tasks.

In order not to be distracted, you must have something definite on which your brain can focus.

That something is a list of the next three most important tasks to be done.

You should make a list of the three most important ie most valuable tasks, irrespective of how easy or how pleasant they are.

Our WhatsNext? app has been designed especially to help you prioritise your to-do list.

Then consciously FOCUS your mind onto that list, to the exclusion of all other distractions.

Change your surroundings to minimise the environmental distractions.

Your surroundings affect your performance. If you are in surroundings that are not conducive to a good performance, then, if possible, make changes to your surroundings.

Maybe you could change desks, or move to a different location, where it is quieter.

Do whatever you can to improve your working conditions.

Tell other people you are occupied and must not be disturbed for an hour.

Other people form part of your environment and some of them distract you. You should make their distraction the subject of a brief conversation.

You should say something like this: "You have a tendency to distract me, when I'm working. I have these things that I need to finish so, would you please, leave me undisturbed for an hour, so that I can focus on this?"

Keep your mind on the task at hand.

Now you have managed your environment and the people in it, you must now manage yourself. Keep a watchful eye on your own mind and don't allow it to wander.

It is a strange idea to suggest that you should set aside a portion of your mind to watch and monitor the functioning of the other parts. But it is true.

Your mind is made up of multiple parts, and they are sometimes at war with each other. Different parts of your brain want different things.

You need to have a part of your brain that acts like a conductor in an orchestra. The conductor harmonises and organises the various instruments and coordinates them so that they play beautiful music. Without a conductor the orchestra would become dis-harmonious and not pleasant to listen to.

Set aside a part of your mind to watch over the rest and keep them in line.

Take regular breaks.

Concentration is hard work. And the harder you work, the less time you can do it, without taking a rest.

Your brain cannot keep working without a break. So at least every hour, take a quick stress break. Get out of your chair and move. Give your mind a chance to reset itself.

Drink plenty of water.

For your mind and body to be at its best, you need plenty of water. Your body is composed mostly of water. If you become dehydrated, you will lose your concentration.

So, drink plenty of water.

Review the situation regularly.

Every four hours review the situation and make a new list of three top priorities.

Your situation is changing by the minute. So, every three or four hours, review your list of three top priorities and reassess, what would be the best, most valuable use of your time.

If, at every moment, you knew what were the three most important things you needed to do; if you were always focused, without distraction, on achieving them, and if you did it all the time, imagine how terrific your life would become.

That is your mission.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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