mac on desk.jpeg

I've been thinking and reading a lot about distractions lately. Did you know that when you get distracted or interrupted studies have shown that it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on track? I didn't, but I'm becoming more aware day-by-day of how both internal and external distractions affect me.

What distracts me? Email, notifications, daydreams, phone calls, interruptions, fears, procrastination, social media, shiny things, lots of shiny things. And squirrels.

I've made some progress in certain areas. For example, I turned off all notifications on my phone and removed Facebook. It helps and allows me to interact with my phone more intentionally. I've started wearing headphones at work during certain times and projects along with the Pomodoro Technique (what's a Pomodoro timer) which has been helpful (when I use them).

I've started turning off email for chunks of time to better focus on the actual work at hand. Jessica Rovello says "Email gives people a form of business attention-deficit disorder," in this article on workforce.com. I lacked the ability to see an email that required an immediate action or response and just ignore it. I was focused on the immediate and urgent instead of the important.

I was losing control of my focus and priorities while everything jostled around near the top of my mental to-do list. I found myself constantly distracted with an inability to focus on the task at hand. Many times a day, I'd say to myself "OK, so now where was I?" 

I've become aware, made some changes and feel I've taken steps to increase my focus & productivity. It's all a journey and all I have is my experience.

Additional readings

The Science Behind Task Interruption and Time Management, Yast Blog

A Focus On Distraction: Brain - Interrupted, NY Times

How Long Does it Take To Get Back On Track After A Distraction, Lifehacker

How To Overcome Workplace Distraction, Forbes

Surrounded By Digital Distractions, We Can't Even Stop To Think, NPR