Dear Dr. B,
I get so easily distracted that it keeps me from being more effective in my personal and professional life. How can I keep my mind from wandering or being distracted by a million things?
Driven to Distraction
Everyone gets distracted from time to time, but it sounds like what you are describing is more than an occasional distractibility.
Several factors can make a big difference in our ability to avoid distractions and stay focused as well as maintain our attention and concentration.
7 simple steps to help avoid distraction and stay focused
- Strive to maintain a consistent bedtime each night. This helps ensure that your brain has the optimum ability to regenerate those chemicals (neurotransmitters) that help improve your focus by fostering sustained attention and concentration.
- Pay attention to your diet. Aim to eat a serving of protein at least three times daily to improve your ability to focus.
- Aim to get at least ten to fifteen minutes of physical exercise daily. If you notice that you struggle most with sustained attention and concentration during the afternoon hours, you may want to take a short break during that time and go for a short 10-15 minute walk to help foster improved focus.
- To the degree that you can, try to structure your daily tasks so that you work on those tasks that require the most sustained focus during the time when you are best able to concentrate. Leave those tasks that do not require as much sustained attention and concentration for those times of the day when your focus is more likely to wax and wane.
- Set up your work environment to be as distraction-free as possible. Avoid clutter, and put things away that will only serve to distract you from the task you are currently working on.
- Keep a notepad handy so that when you begin thinking of other tasks that need to be done which serve as a distraction, you can jot those things down on the notepad so that you will not forget them, but won’t be unnecessarily distracted by them any longer than absolutely necessary.
- Set a timer for your work. Work for that amount of time, then allow yourself a break to get up and do something different that was serving as a distraction, before coming back to work for another uninterrupted period of time.
I’d love to hear other ideas of what you have found to help you avoid distractions and stay focused. Please share in the comments below. Your ideas just might help someone else!!
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