Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

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.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in Personal Effectiveness

  • Seven Habits
    Seven Habits You are what you habitually do. Your life is composed of a set of routines that you habitually do in response to certain triggers. For example, on most work days, you set your alarm to wake you up at the same time in the morning. And when that alarm...
    Read Article >
  • Why people act the way they do
    Why people act the way they do Some people seem to you, to act in strange ways. They do things that seem to make no sense. They like things that you don't like. They say things you would not say. They believe in things that you do not think are true...
    Read Article >
  • How to Find the Good in any Situation
    Nothing is inherently good or bad. It depends on how you think about it, and how you respond to it. Don't always assume that a certain situation is bad news, learn to re-evaluate it.
    Read Article >
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help
    Asking for help is not a sign of failure or weakness. On the contrary, the ability to ask for help and to avail oneself of the combined brainpower of the team is a sign of maturity, intelligence and power.
    Read Article >
  • What is Your Purpose?
    Your purpose is to add value to others, either your boss, your organisation, your customers, or friends and family. If you are able to give value to others, you will get others to willingly cooperate and work with you. A win-win situation all round.
    Read Article >