How often do you find yourself pulled away from your tasks by distractions throughout the day? The answer for most of us is “many times.”

Picture this: you’re diligently working on a report, and suddenly, an email notification pops up on your screen. It takes a rare individual to resist the urge to peek and wonder about its content. You break away from your current task and dive into something entirely different. After handling the distraction, you return to your report, only to ask yourself, “Now, where was I?”

Multiply this scenario by countless interruptions each day, and then consider the cumulative effect over a week, a month, and an entire year. How much precious time do you estimate you’ve squandered over 12 months? And it’s not just about wasted time; it’s about the quality of your work. Constantly shifting your attention from one task to another disrupts your concentration and hinders your ability to excel in any one area.

So, what’s the solution? Here are some strategies to help you regain control:

  1. Disable Email Alerts: Turn off those distracting email notifications. You don’t have to respond immediately to every message that lands in your inbox.
  2. Screen Phone Calls: Don’t feel compelled to answer the phone simply because it’s ringing. Let it go to voicemail if you’re engaged in focused work.
  3. Practice Saying No: Learn to decline distractions politely. Not every interruption deserves your immediate attention.
  4. Discipline Yourself: Develop the self-control to resist impulsive responses to distractions. Train yourself to stay on track.
  5. Set Internet Time Limits: Implement a 10-minute rule for internet browsing. Allocate specific times for web surfing to avoid mindless scrolling.
  6. Communicate Your Focus: Inform colleagues and acquaintances when you’re engaged in deep, concentrated work. Set clear boundaries and expectations for interruption-free periods.

By adopting these strategies, you can regain control over your attention and productivity, ensuring that you perform at your best while minimising the impact of distractions on your life.

Good luck!


Carole Spiers

Carole is the CEO of a leading UK stress management and wellbeing consultancy. She is a BBC Guest-broadcaster and author of Show Stress Who’s Boss! Carole is an international Motivational Speaker and is regularly called upon by the national press and media for comment. She is Chair of the International Stress Management Association [UK], founder of Stress Awareness Day, Fellow and Past President of the Professional Speaking Association, London. www.carolespiers.co.uk


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