If you suffer from ADHD, you might find it hard to complete an assignment without straying away or moving around. Even if you don’t have ADHD, you likely get distracted often, too. In fact, you probably don’t realise just how much precious time is wasted clicking on every notification and keeping multiple tabs open.
Those distractions make you leave your working screen, and it takes about 20 minutes to refocus. Get distracted thrice, and that’s an hour of your day wasted. Here are the best tips according to psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino, reported by WebMD.
Wake up, check Instagram. On the bus, go on YouTube. Bored, look at Twitter. It’s a routine that many of us are familiar with. Though going on social media can be an interesting way to occupy your free time, it often extends to much more than that.
How many times have you gone on social media for “five minutes” and ended up scrolling for an hour? It’s almost always an endless cycle that you should seek to break.
Beat it: Instead of going on your apps at work, try to only do it on breaks. Not only will this set a fixed time for you, but it will also ensure that nobody will see you checking out a funny Facebook post during your working hours.
In a day and age where everything moves so fast and people need immediate replies, it can be tempting or pressurising to always be on top of your emails. The “Adobe’s 2018 Consumer Email Survey” reported that people aged between 24 to 35 check their emails a lot. Not just that, but they spend over six hours on their emails. In just a day.
Beat it: Work emails are still work, but they also still distract you from your current task. Avoid clicking on email notifications unless they are urgent. The rest can wait a few hours when you check them again.
To facilitate a smoother process, you can also set specific times to check your emails. Maybe try checking it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. You can readjust it according to the frequency of emails you receive.
Similarly, your phone notifications take you away from work. The loud ringtone can be hard to ignore and whenever you pick up a call, it can last for many long minutes.
People get to convey more messages when they are talking, which makes it easier to prolong the call or get sidetracked, especially if you are talking to someone you are familiar with.
Beat it: Turn your phone on silent and get caller ID. This way, you will only answer important calls and ignore the ones that can wait. If you miss an urgent call, they’ll probably drop you a message or email to follow up anyway.
When you’re busy at work or at home with countless things on your to-do list, you often feel frazzled. Juggling multiple tasks might feel like you’re getting more done in less time, but experts say otherwise.
Whenever your attention goes from one task to another, you lose time in movement and refocusing. You end up with the same amount of tasks that take a longer time to complete. Instead, try uni-tasking.
Beat it: If possible, try focusing all your attention on just one task at a time. If you are rushing to get all of them done, set one-hour timers so you can get work done on all your tasks. Having a limited time will allow you to concentrate better and work faster too.
The only thing worse than having too many things to do is having too few. In a fast-paced society, things that do not pique your interest get tossed quickly to the side. Even at work, your mind and body will find ways to distract yourself when you feel bored.
Beat it: Combat this by using timers once again. Sticking to a task for half an hour will make it feel easier than it is. And once you get started, you might be able to power through until you complete it.
You’re bound to get distracted from your current task if you’re thinking of problems at home or with people you know. Things that happen outside of work might hold more personal value to you, which makes you more emotionally attached to them.
Beat it: It’s impossible to switch off your thoughts, but you can try to calm down by writing down a list of things you have to do, so at least you’ll know exactly what you are going to do once you leave work.
Pay extra care to those things when you are not at work – you may be able to solve them so you won’t have to worry anymore.
Like overthinking, stress gets in the way of your work as it affects your focus. Stress can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as tight shoulders, headaches, and an increased heart rate.
Beat it: Finding a way to deal with stress is easier said than done, but there are many options you can explore.
Physical practices include exercise and going outdoors, while mental methods include meditation and therapy. Sometimes, just a calming cup of tea or a catch-up session with your friends can help you de-stress.
Some medication, such as drugs used to treat depression and other illnesses, can interfere with your ability to focus.
Beat it: If you feel that your medication clouds your concentration, check with your doctor. You might not have to go off the medication, but take a different dosage or class of it.
Photos: 123RF and Pexels
This article was first published in Singapore Women’s Weekly.