Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention.
Internal distraction is a distraction you have inside your brain. It refers to mental blocks that hold you back from staying focused. What are these blocks? Being able to choose. The most common distraction we encounter is that we have too many options in hand. Ever think of why it’s so easy to start and finish a movie on a plane? It’s because your options are limited. You have limited motive options to choose from.
External distraction is a kind of distraction that is pushed to you externally. Examples include emails and messages notifications, and people coming to you when you’re in the middle of a task.
Step 1: Eliminate Your Options
Step 2: Create Mental Stop Signs
Sign 3: Control Your Focus Environment
As mentioned in the previous section, your internal distraction is usually overlooked. So how not to let yourself get distracted by too many options? Narrow down or eliminate your options. For example, if you’re in your room and have the option to turn on the TV, pick up your phone to play with or grab the bag of chips on your desk to start snacking, get rid of them. You can hide the remote control, turn your mobile off, and put the chips in the kitchen or anywhere that doesn’t take you 20 seconds to reach.
In this highly connected world, lots of things can serve you 24/7 and give you endless information and resources. Take YouTube, for example, it is always recommending you the next video whenever you’ve finished one. If you don’t stop yourself before playing the next recommended video, you’ll be watching YouTube for as long as you will. So in order to regain your focus, create mental stop signs. A typical stop sign is a time limit. You set a time limit for whatever you do.
It’s human nature to be triggered by our five senses constantly. Here’s how our attention is affected by our five senses:
● Sound (e.g. chit chat, pets, white noise, music)
● Touch (e.g the comforts of your chair, your clothes, cleanliness of the table)
● Sight (e.g your screen, your wallpaper, your environment, your peripheral vision)
● Smell (e.g. the smell of coffee, the smell of nature)
● Taste (e.g. the aftertaste in your mouth, what you’re eating or chewing) If you want to stay focused, pick a place where your attention won’t be triggered by any of these five senses easily.
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