You’re busy, admit it. In one way or another, there comes a time when you want your total focus on something. You want to take control so you can carry on with minimal or no problems at all.
Distractions are among those problems.
Everybody has their own level of tolerance for distractions. Some could be easily distracted; some seem to have been given the gift to block distractions even in the noisiest environments.
But I decided to take this to an extreme—for the case of the easily distracted.
We can get distracted by our coworkers, by our phones, by our kids, and yes, some people lose it to just about anything!
The Easily Distracted and Genius
You can take advantage of your own distractions.
The truth is that a recent study shows that getting easily distracted is linked to high creativity.
The creative mind tends to divert its focus on other things other than what’s supposed to be focused on in the first place.
Different results were obtained from the study, in which 100 people participated. But the study highly suggested that real-world creativity was linked to some of the participants’ perceived inability to filter out distractions. And the term “real world” shines—being easily distracted has an advantage in the real world.
The Average Attention Span
What do you think affects your attention span? Is it an innate characteristic? Do different states of feelings control a great part of it?
Even on tasks you love doing, attention breaks will happen, and that’s fine. That’s only for those nice tasks. How many such tasks do you do in one day?
Recognize that experiencing attention breaks isn’t a bad thing. What you can do is acknowledge how they affect your productivity and wellbeing, then take the necessary actions to overcome this sort of occurrence.
In a literature review, a myth that said university students had a consistent 10- to 15-minute attention span was busted. They found that attention breaks or attention lapses, which happened to be mostly short, during lectures, took place for 1 minute or less. These short attention breaks didn’t come every 10 or 15 minutes, which the myth said. Also, attention breaks were fewer when interactions in class were encouraged than when lectures simply progressed without such interactions.
A Reflection on Science
Would you like to be a genius? Can you relate with having attention lapses? (I would answer “Yes” to both, if I were only a hundred percent sure…)
Science continues to make a lot of discoveries, nonstop. Some have been found before our lifetime; I reckon a lot more have been discovered during our time. Breakthroughs, even theories, can only be overwhelming, amazing. They have always fascinated the wonderers.
The human mind is not an exception to such wonders.
Humans may have been hardwired to being creative after all. The connections that can be found between attention breaks and genius may just be the start of some later undertaking to take years just proving another point. We can’t be totally sure why the mind is capable of upgrading to the elite degree, but it has already made wonders in the past, for centuries, to be particular.
Now that you’ve noticed whether small distractions do kick in no matter what you do to block them off, it’s time to set limits to minimize or avoid these nuisances. Remember, getting easily distracted, “easily” being subjective in a way, is now a sign that you are a creative human. Take that to heart, get focused and work!
Taking Things in Your Hands
Granted that you’re one easily distracted being, recognize that the discussion above doesn’t include severe external disturbances. The studies above reflect how the mind can simply work on its own, because it’s designed that way, however recently the advanced discoveries were made.
Remember the coworker you honestly love but who just seems to appear at your desk every 15 minutes? “What does he ever finish doing?” you always ask yourself.
Remember how many times you’ve checked your phone for the last couple of hours? If you say “Once,” what time is it?
Or can you still get a hold of your train of thought about an article you’re writing even after your toddler would need your attention?
The (creative) human mind can—and always will—redeem itself when it’s uninterrupted!
1. Prioritize your tasks.
Here’s an epic tip: Identify your three most important tasks for the day and accomplish them first. (Check the urgent ones, too!) There are plenty of distractions almost everywhere you are. Make a plan, starting with the simple three-task guide. The thing is, you’ll feel good crossing them out however your day goes. Distractions, especially of the same kind, are on their way to being silenced if you just set your priorities straight!
2. Technology is just a tool.
Once again, admit it; technology can only do two things. One, technology can hold you hostage with useless entertainment. It becomes an outlet for procrastination, because you didn’t plan, or you simply don’t have a plan for this time of your life. Or two, technology can simply help you, as it should.
Download audio programs that can block noise. These programs may provide a combination of nature sounds and music to cloak unwanted background noise.
Stop checking again and again. Sure, email is right at your fingertips. Of course, your phone has played that notification sound for how many times now. Set specific times for checking—space them out. Those short minutes you spend checking on the sometimes useless information combined become significant—a waste of time.
The internet provides any sorts of information. When you feel you’re not in the mood for a responsibility, reflect on the novel things you find on the internet to cover up your “different” mood. Understand such attitude, keep your purpose in mind, and learn to stay away from such cover-ups that make you only more distracted.
3. Invest in noise-canceling headphones.
Technology it still is, but this calls for a special mention.
This type of headphones may be pricey. But just think what could be more costly, the price tag or the opportunities you may miss due to distractions you’ll be facing for the rest of your career?
You’ll enjoy the worthwhile results for having them—that’s why it’s called an investment.
There are noises that are merely inconsiderate; noise-canceling headphones may be the solution.
4. But there’s good noise, too.
This would apply well whether you’re easily distracted or not. Slightly noisy environments such as coffee shops, research shows, can boost inspiration and creativity.
This is the only time noise can actually help.
5. Breaks are no exceptions.
You may find this counterintuitive, but the longer you perform a task without a break, the higher your chances are getting distracted.
If you feel your mind’s already tired, or if you think a straight two hours is too much, just go ahead and have a break. Have a sense of knowing how much breaks you need, and when you need to have them.
Remember not to use breaks as a cover-up. Use them genuinely for their purpose.
If you can’t commit to doing a task, say no. If your focus breaks every time a colleague asks you to commit to doing a task, say “I’m really sorry but I can’t be disturbed right now. Can you return after lunchtime?” If you work from home and someone asks you to watch for the kids during your most efficient time, say “I’m sorry I can’t do this now, but we can set a schedule for it,” then you may consider going somewhere else as distraction-free as you wish.
Disagreeing can be constructive for any relationships. Be mindful of everybody else’s welfare whenever you say no; making sure that you take care of yours first can definitely enable you to help others.
Think About It
The ability to be distracted is actually a creative quality. We realize this as time goes by, as new relevant studies come up. Distractions open doors for opportunities with the fundamental that distractions will be used for our improvement and not necessarily for the opposite.
Don’t limit the word “creative” only to the “creative arts” or other sorts of similar disciplines. I believe the rewards of using distractions for our favor cover all walks of life. The rewards embrace everyone.
It may be odd, especially if we force a particular distraction to turn into rather a helping hand, and get frustrated when it doesn’t.
But don’t lose hope and throw quick judgments on distractions just yet. Be grateful for them in a heartbeat. Be grateful for any beautiful thing you find in life.
Who ever thought distractions were nothing but a bother?
Speak Your Mind
Are you someone who’s easily distracted? How do you deal with external distractions? Tell us what you think at the comments section below!