The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Distractions and Staying Focused

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Written By Ryan Patton

Adventurer, Tech Geek and Lover of Productivity Hacks. 

Having trouble staying focused at work these days? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Below, you’ll find our latest Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Distractions.

Everyone has experienced at least one day in their life when they’ve set out to accomplish a whole list of things, and before they know it the sun has gone down and they’ve gotten little to nothing accomplished.

If you aren’t careful, distractions can sneak up on you and consume the greater part of your day.

Keeping yourself focused and productive is not an easy task, but there are certain focus techniques that can be employed to ensure that you don’t let your whole day slip by without accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.

Table of Contents

Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Distractions

The mystery of how to stay focused and eliminate distractions is not such a mystery, after all. Let’s jump into it below.

1. Evaluate Your Current Level of Focus

Before you tackle the daunting task of learning how to avoid distractions, it is important that you honestly assess your current level of focusing ability.

The first thing you’ll need to ask yourself is: “How much time am I realistically losing per day due to distractions?”

Got the answer? Great!

Let’s continue with the following questions below: 

  • Do I often lose track of where I’m at when I’m working? Losing track of your place in your work can be a sign that you’re becoming distracted without even consciously realizing that you’re distracted in the moment. 
  • Does my train of thought often run away from me? Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your mind may not cooperate with the task at hand and may end up distracting you. Don’t worry, there are many ways to improve this.
  • Do I often fall short of the goals that I’ve set for myself? If you find yourself falling short of your goals, it may be a sign that you’re easily distracted.

Give yourself an honest assessment of your current level of focusing ability, and then make a plan for how you can improve.

Obviously, the changes you make won’t show results overnight but with a directed effort, anyone can make noticeable improvements to their focus. 

2. Eliminate Obvious Distractions

Some distractions are obvious. They draw your attention away from what you’re trying to accomplish and cause you to lose your train of thought.

The easiest and most obvious way to improve focus is to cut yourself off from these glaring distractions so you can focus on the task at hand.

Here are some of the most common things that distract us: 

  • Phones – You told yourself you weren’t going to look at your phone until you finished the assignment, but it keeps buzzing with nonessential notifications from your family and friends. My advice would be to turn off all notifications when dedicating yourself to specific task. If keeping your phone nearby is essential to your job, then keep it on silent and turn it face-down, so that it doesn’t distract you.
  • Television – Some people believe that they can work just fine with the television on in the background. The fact of the matter is that the television is inevitably going to occupy a certain part of your brain that could be focusing on whatever task you’re working on. Even if you can only hear the television, a part of your brain is being used to process the noise you’re hearing. If you really want to eliminate distractions, go ahead and turn off that TV, and if someone around you is watching TV, move to a quiet place within your house or office. 
  • Browser Tabs – If you are working on your computer. Only keep open the tabs that are necessary for your work. Leaving BuzzFeed articles and YouTube videos open in other tabs will only give you temptation to distract yourself from your current task.

3. Take Breaks

Oftentimes pushing yourself to work for long periods of time can actually hurt your ability to focus.

Your mind needs a rest once in a while, just like your body does when you’re exercising.

Set times to take short breaks and rejuvenate your brain. Even if that means you need to use a Pomodoro Timer.

Here are some ways to maximize your break times: 

  • Set alarms for your breaks – Setting alarms that signify the beginning of breaks separates your work into a series of short sprints. A Pomodoro Timer is great for this. This way, you can focus all the way through the sprint and then let your mind rest during your break. If you set alarms to signify the end of your breaks, this gives you a call-to-action which lets you jump back into your work with energy and urgency.
  • Don’t think about work during your breaks – The purpose of breaks is to let your mind rest. If you spend your whole break still thinking about work, your mind isn’t actually resting at all. When it’s time for a break, do your best to clear your mind completely, or think about something that makes you happy, and savor the minutes of rest you have before returning to work.
  • Try to get outside – Research says one way to improve happiness is to get outside and breathe some fresh air. If you can, set up a little break area outside your home where you can sit, relax, and soak up the sun. The sounds of the outdoors are great for putting the mind at ease, and vitamin D from the sun is proven to boost happiness and productivity.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness and being anchored in the present moment is a fantastic way to improve focus and block out distractions. Mindfulness meditation, a meditation technique which involves acute focus on the intake and release of the breath, is a great way to focus the mind and build mental stamina. There are several apps that can help guide you through mindfulness meditation if you are a beginner — such as Calm, Insight Timer and more.

Another simple way to improve your focus is just trying to be mindful as you go through your daily routine.

Try to be as aware as possible of the details of the world around you, and appreciate the present moment rather than being drawn into the past or the future. 

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5. Lastly, Don’t Get Discouraged

If you set a goal to improve your focus and still find yourself getting distracted, don’t get discouraged. The road to mastering focus is a long one, and you can’t expect yourself to perfect the art of eliminating distractions immediately. 

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