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How to Improve Your Focus When Distractions Are Screaming

Focus definition how to improve focus when faced with distractions

Our world has abruptly changed, and life as we knew it has shifted significantly. Non-essential workers have had to leap from rarely being home to being safer at home and have dove off the cliff of constant movement into the unfamiliar waters of decreased activity.

Suddenly, you have the thing you previously wished for—more time. And if recent social media posts are any indication, it was great, at first.

Now, with the dust settling on the initial impact, you are faced with navigating this new season of working from home, homeschooling, constant news briefings, and an increased urge to scroll social media. Added together, this new situation can wreak havoc on your productivity.

But the show must go on. And during this time of quarantine, with at-home time rising and distractions mounting, it becomes increasingly important to boost your focus. Because, as you’ve likely already discovered, more time does not always equal getting more done.

Focus is a skill that becomes stronger and engrained in how you function when it’s learned and practiced consistently. As with developing any skill, improving your focus takes planning, time, and effort. These strategies will help you gain and keep your focus when distractions are screaming louder by the day.

Create Distraction-Free Zones

Some tasks require very little concentration. Then there are those that you need to have tunnel vision to complete. Your ability to get in the zone is delayed each time you allow a distraction to take you away from the task at hand.

Making space for uninterrupted work is key to improving your ability to focus. To do this, create distraction-free zones by implementing one or more of the following:

  • Designate a room or area as a quiet space

  • Block off time on your calendar for uninterrupted focus time

  • Plan and write down what you’ll work on during your focus time and only work on those things

Of course, you’ll need to communicate the boundaries for your distraction-free zones to those around you so everyone is on the same page about when interruptions are okay.

Say No to Temptation

Sources for distractions are varied and plentiful. Interestingly, studies show that self-interruptions occur equally as much as interruptions from others. Unfortunately, whether self-inflicted or brought on by others, your focus pays the price. It’s estimated that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus after each interruption.

To keep your focus, you have to say no to even the most tempting device notifications. To help yourself, turn off your device notifications during your focus time, limit the number of times you check your email, and postpone your social media scrolling until your task is done (or at least until you take a break).

Eliminate Multitasking

Multitasking is touted as a great way to increase your efficiency. But, dividing your attention between tasks that require concentration only increases the time it takes to complete them, and you end up getting less done.

If you’ve been a multitasker for any length of time, retraining your concentration is necessary. Try working on a task in short intervals (15-20 minutes) without stopping. If your task isn’t complete, add another set of minutes until it’s done.

Keeping your focus in the face of distractions is tough. Set yourself up for success by assigning time and space for focused work and guarding your time against the things that pull you away.

Having trouble giving attention to that habit you want to establish, the project that needs completing, or the goal you want to achieve? Try one of the strategies mentioned and let us know how it worked for you.

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