Our world has become a constant source of information, noise, and entertainment. Our mobile phones do not live only in our pockets, also in front of our eyes. The influence of the Internet and its constant flow of information is accessible from almost any corner of our world. Breaking news break into our day at breakneck speed. And we’re oversaturated with messages continuously with ads almost everywhere. Each distraction enters our mind with only one goal: to gain control of our attention and absorb our energy.
As a result, we live distracted lives and our ability to concentrate, creativity and active listening suffers significantly. I can see this in myself, and around the world around me: the constant use of computers, the change between browser tabs, continuously checking the mobile phone, writing a message here and there … almost all of us do it.
But it is not a good formula for doing things. We can feel productive when we are constantly changing between things, constantly doing something, but in all honesty, we are not.
We are just distracted .
It is increasingly clear that distractions will not disappear. Instead, the responsibility is ours to live our focused and attentive lives in the middle of a world of distraction. This is my goal, at least.
To live life with less distractions, this is what works for me:
Turn off mobile phone notifications. Our mobile phones have quickly become one of the greatest sources of distraction in our lives. An average person now checks their mobile phone 150 times every day (little less than every 6 minutes). To limit the distracting nature of the mobile phone, disable all non-essential notifications (email, Facebook, Twitter, games, etc.) as a default. So you can see your applications at the time you decide at the right times of the day.
Check email only twice every day. When we have our email open all day, we deliver our attention to the highest bidder instead of what is really important. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we understand why the habit of checking email only twice / day makes you much more productive.
Eliminate physical disorder. Unnecessary disorder is an important form of visual distraction. Consider this: everything in our view subtly captures our attention, at least a little. And the more we remove, the less visual stress and distractions we experience. Clear your desk, walls, flat surfaces and your home from unnecessary possessions. You will be surprised at your new ability to focus.
Eliminate digital clutter . Just as physical disorder distracts our attention, digital disorder achieves it. Desktop icons , open programs, and other visible notifications compete for attention without notice in our mind. Watch the digital triggers that capture your attention. And mercilessly eliminate them.
Accept and accentuate your personal rhythms. Discover the rhythms of your day to get the most out of them. For example, I do my best creative work first thing in the morning, I dedicate the following hours to work, and I reserve them for entertainment, rest and enjoyment with my children, family or friends. Accepting and understanding our natural rhythms during the day motivates us to eliminate distractions during our most productive parts of the day knowing that there is an opportunity later to please them.
Have a to-do list. One of the most practical tips I have received about maintaining focus is the simple solution of having a list of pending and practical tasks updated. The opportunity to quickly write the task allows it to be quickly discarded from your mind, and thus release it from distracting thoughts.
Aware . Watch yourself when you’re changing tasks, you’re hooked on social media and other distractions. Detect your mind running from one thing to another. If you are not aware of your habits, you will never change them. This awareness can begin a couple of hours a day, for days or weeks. Watch for your main distractions.