Do you lose concentration quickly, or you find that you’re overwhelmed by too many thoughts? It’s possible that you may have one or several concentration disorders like distraction syndrome or ADD. If this is the case, then what does it mean? For a lot of individuals, being distracted is a big problem. It means that they have difficulties when it comes to controlling their focus and attention. If you have the same experience, then you may know how challenging it is when you can’t filter what’s truly important from the many things that are vying for your attention.
When you are easily distracted, you can’t shift from one task to the next smoothly. If you are in the middle of doing a job and then you are interrupted, it’s hard for you to return to your flow and continue from where you left off. Distractions could be anything from a colleague asking you a question, an email notification, or the loud voices of chatting workmates. These distractions cause you to spend a lot of time trying to get back to your groove so you can continue working on your tasks. That means that you waste precious hours a day being distracted.
As you may already know, whenever this disturbance in your flow state happens, you become unproductive. Finishing a task that would have taken you only an hour ends up taking the whole afternoon. Interruptions are terrible because you have to start all over. You have to warm up and get back into the zone. If you regularly have this problem, here are three tips to help you get back into your groove and overcome distraction syndrome.
Having a distraction syndrome is tough. While this issue is caused by certain brain activities that you can’t control, you do have something that you can control, and that’s your environment. In your office, what are the things that are causing you the most interruptions? It’s most likely going to be your smartphone, social media, and loud colleagues. If you think about it, you can do something about these things so that they won’t distract you as much.
When you’re at work, turn off notifications on your phone and then hide it away in your drawer. Don’t reach out for it unless you’re on your break or you absolutely need to. Checking social media notifications is not a valid excuse, though, so don’t let that ruin your momentum. As for loud colleagues, you can try investing in high-quality noise-canceling headphones. Once you pop on those headphones, that’s already an indicator that you don’t want to be disturbed. Your workmates won’t interrupt you for some small office chat.
Also, keep your desk clean and organized. As a sort of ritual, you can spend the first few minutes of your workday tidying up your desk and preparing the things you’re going to need like your pen, planner, memo pad, calendar, and others. At the end of the day, make it a point to clean up your desk so that everything will be in their respective places when you get back the next day. You won’t be wasting time trying to find that missing stapler anymore.
You can only do so much in a day, so it’s best not to overdo this one. But if you’re not familiar with how much you can really do within one day, you can try listing the tasks you want to accomplish. Set a timer as you start a task so that you’ll know how long it took for you to finish it. Do the same for all the other jobs on your list. Now you have a guide for the next time you’ll need to do similar tasks, and you can budget your time accordingly.
Crossing off your to-do list is going to be one of the most satisfying things in your workday. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish everything. Give yourself enough time to get to know your workflow and the length of time you need for each item on your list. When you’re more familiar with it, then it will be much easier to limit the tasks you’ll put in your to-do list. Some suggest that you should only limit it to three items, but it really depends on you and how much work you’re willing to put in each day.
At the moment, a lot of people are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many benefits to working from the comfort of home. However, it also poses plenty of challenges, especially if you have a distraction syndrome. One of the best ways to prevent interruptions is to inform others in the house about your work schedule. If you have online meetings, tell your family about it, and let the kids understand that it’s important that they behave and be quiet for a short while.
You may also adjust your schedule if your work time is flexible. You can try working very early in the morning before everyone wakes up or late at night when everybody’s asleep. But if you’d rather keep a normal sleeping schedule and work during the day, then communicate to your family or flatmates that you’re easily distracted and need their help. When you’re honest about your problem, people are more likely to understand and help you out.
Don’t allow stress to overwhelm you whenever you get distracted from doing important work. It’s going to take a while to really build up strong habits that will help you focus more. Nevertheless, you can start with the three tips here and add more techniques and strategies as you go along. Be observant of yourself, so you’ll be able to identify your challenges and how you can overcome them.
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