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The worst workplace distractions aren't your phone, email, or social media

Lacking social interaction

Workplace isolation sends us to Twitter and Facebook. Or to check in on email and chat every 5-10 minutes to see if there’s a new message.

Solution: Creating a daily routine with time to connect with the people you work with and not just resorting to impersonal communication.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The worst workplace distractions aren't your phone, email, or social media

The worst workplace distractions aren't your phone, email, or social media

https://blog.rescuetime.com/the-fight-against-distraction/

blog.rescuetime.com

7

Key Ideas

William James

William James

“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

The 2 kinds of distractions

  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us, like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal): The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to make or thinking about a future meeting.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman

“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”

Main sources of internal distraction

  • Remote work or a lack of social interaction.
  • Multitasking.
  • Unpredictable work environments.

Emotional distractions are a symptom of our workplace culture

Lacking social interaction

Workplace isolation sends us to Twitter and Facebook. Or to check in on email and chat every 5-10 minutes to see if there’s a new message.

Solution: Creating a daily routine with time to connect with the people you work with and not just resorting to impersonal communication.

Multitasking

Living in a space of constant half-attention causes our brain to lose focus.

Solution: Adopt a work schedule designed around single-tasking. for that, learn to prioritize. Because distraction might actually be just confusion about what matters.

Unpredictable work environments

Our work environment rarely lends itself to focus. So get more comfortable with distractions.

Our brains are brilliant at noticing anything that doesn’t match a pattern. We’re drawn to novelty, which makes a distraction—like a loud coworker or hearing a one-sided conversation—in an otherwise monotonous workday very hard to ignore.

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Attention Management

It's is the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so you can create a life of choice, around things that are important to you.

It is the ability to recognize when your attention is being stolen (or has the potential to be stolen) and to instead keep it focused on the activities you choose. 

Choosing What You Attend To

Attention management offers a deliberate approach that puts you back in control, by managing both external and internal factors.

Practicing attention management means fighting back against the distractions and creating opportunities throughout your day to support your priorities. 

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Kyle Cease

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Temptations and Interruptions

Distractions can be either:

  • Temptations: When we take a break from work to check social media
  • Interruptions: When we get annoyed or repeated emails disrupting our workflow.

While we can deal with these external problems, what can be more challenging is our internal urge to be distracted.

Covering Our Fears

Distractions are a way to mask what we are fearful of. Fear is a deception that comes from looking at something you’ve never done. It’s simply how your brain works — it believes anything could be death and everything you’ve already done has proven itself to be safe. Embracing fear makes it lose the grip on us.

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Increase your focus by setting goals

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Organize your tasks for a better focus

Organizing your tasks according to their difficulty level has only positive effects on your work. You will not only keep track of what has been done and what remains to be done, but you will also make sure that both difficult and easy tasks are being performed.

Scheduling improves your focus

Carefully scheduling your daily program enables you to reach a better focus. As you plan your day, you should take care of dividing your tasks according to the available time. This way you will know from the beginning of the day what and when needs to be done, which will reduce considerably the time to make decisions, which is one of the main distractions when thinking to start a new task. Furthermore, including breaks in your schedule is almost essential, as these allow you to  recharge your batteries and, therefore, work more efficiently afterwards.

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Daily interruptions

On average, we experience an interruption every 8 minutes or about 7 or 8 per hour. In an 8t-hour day, that is about 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes about 5 minutes, so that...

Myth of multitasking

We’re not actually multitasking; rather, we are switching rapidly between different activities.

Better concentration makes life easier and less stressful and we will be more productive. Practice concentration by finding things to do that specifically engage you for a period of time to the exclusion of everything else.

The ‘five more’ rule

... for learning to concentrate better:

Whenever you feel like quitting – just do five more – five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages – which will extend your focus. 

The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration.

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The hardships of stating focused 

We have trained ourselves to be continuously distracted and find it's hard to stop doing it.

  • Some are distracted because of sensory or visual processing problems, slow processing or me...
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To get better at concentrating, start small.

  • Choose only one task or point of focus. Clear all other things away or shut them down.
  • Look at your environment. Do you work better in silence or with ambient noise? Is your chair comfortable enough?
  • You can also train yourself to be more mindful by focusing on your breath or any other sensation for three minutes.
Be compassionate with yourself

If you're distracted because of internal turmoil, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that's what's going on. Talk about it to someone or just to yourself.

If you do get distracted, notice it and gently bring your attention back.

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Our attention is fragile

Research indicates our mind wanders 50 percent of our waking hours. Internal and external distractions easily disrupt our attention from the task at hand.

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What mindfulness is

It’s about paying attention to the present moment with awareness and without emotional reactivity.

Mindfulness training

It can be broken down into two major categories:

  • Focused attention exercises cultivate your brain’s ability to focus on one single object, like one’s breath or walking.
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Observe Your Need To Procrastinate
  1. Observe the need to procrastinate, recognizing and being aware of your desire. This is called meta-recognition and is what all the Gurus keep talking about when they speak about awareness.
  2. Label and accept your urge to waste your time, but without any negative judgement.
  3. Validate your urge to procrastinate, increasing your self-esteem.
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The Real Enemy of Flow

The biggest obstacle, the main villain hampering our productivity is always in your hands, and rarely in your pockets. _It’s your smartphone. It needs to be powered off for some time. Your laptop, clamouring for attention, is not helping either. Remove all distractions and notifications so that you can get in the ‘flow’ mode.

Creating friction between us and the open black hole of the online distractions helps us focus on work.

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Statistics about multi-tasking
  • Trying to focus on more than one thing at a time reduces your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s the cognitive equivalent of pulling an all-nighter.
  • The average desk job ...
When you single-task...
  • you tend to work on the right things. Effective single-tasking requires planning. Starting your day without a plan is just asking for distraction and inefficiency.
  • you accomplish more in less time with less stress: Intentionally focusing on one task at a time has been proven the most efficient way to move through your to-do list.
4 essential components of effective single-tasking:
  1. Cutting out distractions.
  2. Make a single-tasking plan you’ll actually stick to.
  3. Dealing with unavoidable distractions.
  4. Getting back on track when you’ve fallen off the single-tasking band wagon.

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Using reminders
We use memory devices to offload our need to remember everything all the time. But these tools have slowly shifted from a source of calm to just another source of interruption.

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Reminders and mental space

Reminders give us mental space for more important work. They make sense because we can't remember everything.

They keep our most important priorities top of mind. And studies show how reminders can help us save more money, keep up with medical treatments, and be more charitable.

Reminders: the bad side
  • We’re bombarded by reminders and notifications every day and this can mess up our focus.
  • Reminders cause context switching and distraction. They take our focus away from what we're doing.
  • Good reminders lose their influence quickly. The sheer number of them means we’re more likely to miss the ones we do want to pay attention to.
Research on communication

Research found that only 7 percent of communication comes from the words you use; the rest of what you communicate comes from your voice and tone (38 percent) and your body language (55 percent).

Connecting with people
If you really want to communicate effectively, you need to connect and converse with the people around you—beyond words on a screen.
Embrace small talk

Small talk might not be that meaningful, but it does have a few benefits: it can make you happier and it can boost the brain’s executive functions responsible for everything from attention and focus to time management to organization.

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