Are Distractions Ruining Your Life? How to Fix What’s Wiping out Your Focus.
What can you do to help yourself focus and be more productive when distractions keep getting in the way? Whether you find it practically impossible to concentrate in a busy environment, or you’re zoning out while listening to someone, distractions can rule your life and prevent you from doing and achieving the things you want to get done.
Everyone can get distracted at times, yet for people with ADHD “Distractibility” is one of the major symptoms, often affecting us continuously from morning to night. Knowing when, where, and how you’re getting distracted is a good starting point to doing something to improve your situation. Lists, charts, graphics, or voice recordings of your distractions are just some of the ways you could collect this information.
Follow these pointers to create your unique Personal Distraction Profile:
When do you typically get distracted?
Is it when you are talking to someone and you start to follow a train of thought sparked off by something they said, pulling you away from what the person is saying? Perhaps it’s being in a noisy, busy environment at work when your concentration is broken by phones ringing, or people coming and going, and asking you things. Or maybe it’s when you start a domestic clear out, and you find so many interesting things that distract you. All of a sudden, hours have gone by, and nothing gets done.
So, identify when you get distracted and record the times you get pulled off focus.
Where are you most often distracted?
Is it at work, where the chairs are uncomfortable, so your back begins to ache, and the discomfort is hard to ignore? Or at home, where the thought of unpaid bills distracts you from the task in hand, and the dinner gets burned – again!
Perhaps you are out for a meal somewhere with friends, only the music and conversations together make it virtually impossible to hear what anyone is saying, so you spend the evening feeling isolated and on the edge of things.
Make a note of these places and add them to the record.
How do you get distracted?
We are all individuals, and one way to understand and identify your unique brand of distractions is knowing how you take in and then process information. You take in information through your senses. Depending on individual processing styles, one or more of your senses can be the source of many distractions.
It can be useful to divide distractions into two main categories; external and internal. Continue to add any more instances to the data you’re compiling about yourself.
External distractions can be anything entering your field of awareness via your senses – this could be the regular five senses:
· tactile or felt,
In addition, some individuals are affected by:
· temperature changes or extremes,
· perception of where their body is in space,
· sense of balance.
People respond differently to these stimuli – some people will find the subtlest sounds or movements distracting, while others won’t even be aware of them.
Then there are internal distractions. These can be things like:
· memories etc.
Add this information to your Distractions Profile.
Now pinpoint any emerging patterns and consider how you could better manage them.
For instance, do sounds distract you and interrupt your train of thought when writing emails? You could try wearing ear defenders, moving to a quieter place, or changing the time of day you work on them, so that you are sure to be in a quiet environment.
Or maybe it’s the visual distraction of other people around you, moving around or walking past that you find most distracting? Try working in a room on your own, using a screen, or turning your desk to face the wall.
Perhaps you are repeatedly distracted by memories that get triggered by seeing a place, person, or object? Before you know it, you are off down memory lane, and time is ticking by. Many of my clients have found Mindfulness practice can help with being more present. Over time, regular Mindfulness practice can reduce instances of getting lost in thoughts and emotions for long periods.
It’s worth bearing in mind that each type of distraction has its own solutions. Being more precise about what your distractions are will help you customize your responses with more success.
In summary, to build up your Personal Distraction Profile, identify and record:
· WHEN you get distracted.
· WHERE you get distracted.
· HOW you get distracted.
· your external distractions.
· your internal distractions.
Make additions to your profile whenever you find yourself pulled away from things, unproductive or overwhelmed, or when you find you’ve lost track of time.
The final step is to identify any recurring patterns, and think of some action(s) you could take based on your findings.
If you don’t feel up for doing this alone, why not ask for help from a trusted friend. Alternatively, you could engage a specialist in coping with distractions such as an ADHD Coach to assist you.
Once you have identified your times, places and types of distraction you will be in a much stronger position. Then you can take positive action to reduce or eliminate them. Your focus and productivity will increase as a result!
|Anna Schlapp, AACC, ACC, is a certified ADHD coach who specialises in creative solutions to triumph over the hurdles of ADHD. Anna helps those with challenges in focus and attention to co-create personalised blueprints for leading more amazing lives. Read more of Anna’s strategies for empowered productivity on her blog. To find out how Anna’s unique system can help you maximise your potential, ask about a complimentary coaching session.|