How to Get Rid of Distractions
It is very difficult to increase focus and concentration when you can’t get rid of distractions.
We have some tried and true methods to share that can help you get rid of distractions.
In our post How to Increase Focus we reviewed some options for handling seven of the most common distractions.
In this post we’re going to share some ideas for handling yet another seven common distractions.
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Seven Common Distractions
- Decision Fatigue
- TV / Movies
Reduce Clutter to Get Rid of Distractions
Are you surprised to hear that clutter keeps you from getting things done.
Clutter causes brain fog. It makes it very difficult for you to focus on the task at hand.
Why? Well, for one thing, it’s chaos and confusion. More importantly, clutter is a reminder of a To Do that you haven’t done yet. This leads to anxiety and stress.
I know all about this all too well. In fact, I am writing this post from our dining room table. This room is clear and uncluttered. My office is not.
I know that I can’t focus on a writing task in that room. So, instead, I sit at my dining room table and type. When I am done for the day, I’ll return my laptop and the papers I am using, to the cluttered office.
A Temporary Solution to Get Rid of Distractions
This is a temporary solution. I’ve had to use it many times in my life. Those times when life gets out of control and organizing my office, which is also my craft room, is a low priority.
If you have a similar issue, it’s fine to use a temporary solution. Can you find a different place to work? Find an empty desk or table somewhere and use it until your usual workspace is uncluttered.
The goal is to keep our workspace clean and organized. A workspace that is neat and uncluttered is an inviting place to work. It will inspire focus.
Try to spend time weekly, if daily is not a possibility (as is the case for me), putting everything away. Toss papers that you don’t need and file papers that you need to keep.
For everything else, find a place where it belongs and return it there after you’ve used it every.single.time. Believe me, I know how hard this can be.
But, with perseverance, you can be successful in this. Or should I say we will be successful. I am confident of this. I hope you are too.
It is hard to focus and get more done when you are thirsty. Being dehydrated makes us tired and it distracts us. It affects our thinking, and keeps us from being able to focus.
There are so many wonderful insulated cups available now, that we should all be able to take our water with us. We can have it at the ready to sip on all day long. Here’s my favorite keep-it-cold cup . When I’m at home or working out, I don’t need an insulated cup. This is my favorite water bottle for home.
Have you thought about the fact that your brain gets tired? Having to decide on too many things every single day can create a mental fatigue.
Mental fatigue is exhausting. This exhaustion can make it hard to focus and concentrate on the tasks that you want to take care of.
Three options for dealing with decisions:
- Purple File Folder
- Plan Ahead
Delegate Responsibilities / Decisions
Try to decrease the number of decisions that you need to make every day.
Are there people you can delegate some of the decision-making responsibilities to?
I used to work with a wonderful lady who did not like to make decisions. Thus, with even the simplest of decisions, she would come to me. She was interrupting me numerous times a day to make decisions for her.
As you may imagine, I was becoming overwhelmed having to make all of her work decisions, in addition to my own.
We worked very well together, but this was becoming a problem.
Purple File Folder Solution
Our solution may sound a bit humorous, but we used it for several years and it worked perfectly.
We took a simple Purple file folder and wrote in large letters on the outside “You Can Decide”. For the first few months, whenever she asked me to decide something, if it was something that she should decide on her own, I would simply hold up the purple file folder. I didn’t need to say a word.
Eventually, we reached a point where after she had asked the question, we would just look at each other and one or the other of us would simply say “purple”. The file folder was no longer necessary. That one word said it all.
This never created any contention between us. In fact, it almost always made us smile.
Perhaps you could use something similar if you are constantly making decisions that you don’t need to make.
Plan Ahead to Get Rid of Distractions
Another way to help reduce decision fatigue is by planning in advance.
For example, creating a weekly or monthly menu is a great way to reduce daily decisions. If you are responsible for the meals for your family, typically that means 3 meals and at least 3 decisions each day.
If you’ve created a menu plan, then those decisions are already made.
You can also simplify your decisions on what to wear each day. Take a few minutes on the weekend to choose what you’ll be wearing the next week.
Another way is one that I am working on. I’m not there yet, but my goal is to have less clothes. If I have less clothes, then I will have less clothes to choose from when deciding what I am going to wear each day.
When I have finally developed a plan I am super pleased with, I will be sure to share it with you. But, right now, this is a work in process. It’s much better than it used to be, but I’m not ready to share it yet.
If you’d like some help, there are programs out there that use capsule wardrobes to simplify the clothing decision-making issue.
Are there other areas in your life that you can think of where planning in advance would help decrease your decision fatigue?
What about hunger? Isn’t it difficult to work with your stomach growling? Your brain won’t be able to focus on the task at hand if you need some food in your belly.
Keep some healthy snacks available. There are all kinds of healthy snack bars available that you can keep in a cabinet or drawer. I love this variety pack. You can read about some more healthy snacks here.
Just say “no” to all gossip. It takes up your valuable time. It hurts others. Nothing else needs to be said about gossip.
Stop Multi-tasking to get rid of distractions
So many people think that multi-tasking is the way to get a whole lot done. Forget that! It is not true. Multi-taskers may seem to be doing more stuff, but they really aren’t.
When a multi-tasker does two tasks at a time, their brain must shift back and forth, very quickly, between those two tasks. The result is that it they aren’t focusing on either one.
In reality, multi-tasking slows people down and makes them less productive. It takes longer for them to complete the two tasks. And, oftentimes, this decease in focus results in mistakes. The second task is simply a distraction for the first task.
TV / Movies
So, if you work in an office setting, it is not likely that the TV or movies is a distraction for you. But, if you work from home, it could be.
The easiest way to deal with this is to not turn the TV (or your phone if that’s where you watch shows) on when you need to focus on a task.
However, if you are at home, there might be someone else in the house who wants the TV on.
The best option for dealing with this distraction is to try to work in another room. Another solution is to wear the noise cancelling headphones.
You could make watching TV shows and movies a reward for getting your tasks done. I love to binge watch a series with the best of them. Nothing is better than spending a rainy Saturday afternoon with my adult children and binge watching a year of one series that we all enjoy.
Have fun watching your shows. Just do it when you don’t need to be focusing on another task.
You Can Do This
Learning how to increase focus and concentration covers a lot of different areas. We can be distracted by so many different things. Take some time to identify the distractions that are most problematic for you. Then try a few of our solutions. You’ll love getting to the end of the day or week and seeing how much more work you got done.