How to Limit Distractions

Distraction starts from within, learn how to identify what leads you off topic

There is no doubt that every day, there seems to be more and more things that bring our minds in a million different directions.  We can easily look at technology, busy schedules, current events, or health concerns as the root of our distractibility.  This blame, however, is wrongly placed.  The ultimate cause of our distractions comes from within our own minds.  With some self-awareness and practice, we can better control our minds and limit how often we become distracted.  

  1. Self reflect

Identifying the triggers that made you feel bad in the first place requires self-exploration. When you notice yourself feeling distracted, pause and ask yourself what you’re feeling. Are you worried? Are you afraid? Then go one step deeper. What caused the sensation? How does it feel in your body?  Nir Eyal writes that we may be subconsciously allowing ourselves to become distracted.  This may be because we are anxious about a project, worried about the outcome of something on which we are supposed to be focusing, or maybe we fear missing out on something else so we allow it to pull our minds away from our current situation.  Identifying how we are feeling when we become distracted is an important step to take in limiting how often we allow our minds to wander.

  1. Reframe

Once you have identified why you are distracted and how you are feeling, you should next reframe the task at hand.  One way of doing this is to find the fun in every task.  “Research indicates that even the simple act of thinking of something that you don’t enjoy as fun can have a powerful and real effect on your brain’s interpretation of it. ‘Fun,’ writes the game designer Ian Bogost in his book Play Anything (2016), ‘turns out to be fun even if it doesn’t involve much (or any) enjoyment’”.  Eyal says that when distractions come about during a task, he “showed compassion to [him]self and [his] struggles. [He] began to speak the way [he] might to a friend: ‘Nir, you’re distracted right now, and that’s OK. What’s causing it? Let’s figure it out.’ These simple thoughts helped reframe [his] temperament, which is a critical step in addressing distraction”.  

  1. Identify your priorities

Determine which tasks are most important to you and allot more time for the most important tasks on your calendar.  Put time for every activity on your calendar, even scrolling through social media!  This way, you can allow yourself to scroll through your newsfeed without any feelings of guilt.

  1. Limit external triggers

This may seem like an obvious step, but that does not make it any less important.  Remember to turn notifications off on your phone or sit in a space that allows you to focus on a task.  It is important to have control over your environment and taking these extra steps will allow you to keep your mind focused. 


For the full article, click here.


Get In Touch

Please send us your questions and comments. One of our team members will respond to you in a timely fashion.