How to overcome distractions?

Why do we find ourselves so distracted? Is it just because of the technology we are surrounded by? Or is there something a lot deeper?

We often ignore that other than external triggers (notifications, etc.), we are also affected by internal triggers, the uncomfortable emotional states that we try to escape. For example, when we feel lonely, we automatically open up Instagram, when we feel uncertain, google, and not feel these uncomfortable emotions. Here are five ways by Nir Eyal that can help us stay on track.

1. Plan your day (But not with a To-do list)

“If you don’t plan your day someone is going to plan them for you.” Many people believe in the “myth” of the to-do list; just by writing things down, things do not get done. What we should focus on is not the output of the work we need to get done but the input, how much time are you gonna devote to each task. Else we all will just end up recycling the bottom half of our to-do list.

2. Use social media and email at set timmers

Once we get distracted from the task we are working on, it takes 20 mins to get back our focus. To avoid distractions at work, schedule a time to check all your emails at once so that later you are not affected, or else if you love using social media, schedule a time in your day to use social media. That way they will never get in between your task at hand.

3. Surf the urge

According to the researchers, surfing the urge is an effective to avoid distractions. By surfing the urge at noticing what is that we are experiencing and allowing the uncomfortable internal trigger to crest and then pass. This way we can easily get over the emotion and get back on our work.

4. Beware of liminal moments

These are the periods of time when we are transitioning from one task to another. For example, while switching from one exercise to another, you take a 5 mins break and start to use Instagram. Now 5 mins are done but you still continue to use Instagram. This becomes a distraction, resulting in less focus on the next work at hand.

5. Remember that you are not powerless

We think that technology is hijacking our brains or it is addicting everyone, it is more likely that we will not be able to put technology distractions in their place. So do not believe the line there is nothing we can do, as clearly there is always so much that we can do that we get the best out of these products without letting them get the best of us.

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