How to Stay Focused in a World of Distractions

It can be difficult to concentrate in today’s world of distractions: mobile phones, social media, entertainment, and email all have a disruptive impact on our day. Interruptions slow down the flow of our thoughts and we often end up repeating some activities when attempting to get back into things.

But focusing on what’s important can be done! Here are four tips that help to enhance your focus:

  • Choose single tasks over multitasking

    We don’t often consider the toll multitasking can take on our productivity: multitasking is rapidly switching between two or more tasks, giving each one alternating chunks of our attention, and research suggests that it can cause more errors than productivity. Give yourself permission to prioritize and focus on one thing – you’ll be more productive if you do.

  • Follow work intervals

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, break your tasks into shorter intervals with short breaks in between; this is called the Pomodoro Technique. During a work interval, spend your time on a single task, doing it one step at a time. During a break interval, change your mindset or location to reset.

  • Intentionally set notifications on or off

    Email and text notifications are a primary source of distraction. Our brains struggle to focus when our texts and emails send us alerts every few minutes. Disable email and text notifications, and then block out time later to answer messages without interruption. Features like Do Not Disturb can help us focus during especially critical periods of concentration.

  • Do the most important task first

    Does looking at your seemingly never-ending to-do list give you a headache? First thing in the morning, choose three tasks to focus on for the day. Accomplishing these tasks, no matter how small, will build positive momentum and help keep you motivated through the day.

It is important to stay focused. Learn more about some of the best techniques for focus and concentration in these books (your local library may even have them):

Deep Work | Cal Newport 

Indistractable | Nir Eyal 

The Pomodoro Technique | Francesco Cirillo 

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