Distractions are sometimes unavoidable as we can't help but feel the need to check up on our social media accounts when we're supposed to be doing something important or pick up our phone whenever we get a notification because we get worried we might end up missing some type of information if we ignore our phone.
Here are a few tips that can help prevent distractions and maintain focus during work time:
Distraction free mode
Simply put yourself in a position where it is less likely for you to get preoccupied with something other than what you're supposed to be working on at the moment. You can start by closing the door to your office if you can or move to a more quiet location if you work in an open office, put on noise-canceling headphones, turn off your phone or put it on silent and move it away from you so you can't pick it up easily.
Focus on challenging works
Taking on a more complex work that pushes our skill and intellectual limits can help us become consumed and hyper-focused on the task because they tend to demand more brain power and attention which can help prevent distracting thoughts. Our minds are wired to focus on anything that's novel, pleasurable or threatening. And tackling these tasks gives us a sense of achievement.
Set your main objectives everyday
Giving in to distraction becomes easy if you have a long list of things to achieve in a day as it can make one feel the urge to give up even before starting. Limit your daily goals by writing down at least 3 main objectives and paste them in a visible place. This will give you a clearer mind on what to focus more on and then you can proceed to work on those that are less important after you've accomplished your major objectives.
Work with a shorter time frame
According to Parkinson's Law, "work tends to expand to fill the time we have available for its completion." Give yourself a shorter deadline to finish your work and get a backup plan to hold yourself accountable. This will help you avoid distractions and improve your productivity because when we're up against a deadline, we suddenly become laser focused and avoid distractions at all costs.
Break the cycle of stress
Stress and anxiety can make one feel exhausted, easily distracted and the inability to focus. Bring your stress level down and under control by finding ways to calm your mind and relax your body to reduce the body's stress response, get enough sleep, practice some breathing exercises and find ways to contain your anxiety. This will help you focus more and prevent distractions easily.
Monitor your mind wandering
Pay attention to your thoughts and recognize when your mind starts wandering. This will allow you to know and control what to focus on and also help bring your thoughts back to your work. Know what distractions are hard to avoid, so you can catch them sooner. When you feel your mind wandering and getting distracted, take a deep breath and choose not to react to it.