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4 Distraction Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
Are you doing a task but without a 100% focus on it? Then later you realize that you have to go back to that task and fix the work because you were unfocused?
If you are experiencing this, you have wasted your time and you are bringing unnecessary stress upon yourself. What is distracting you? Why do you tend to focus less than 100% on your task when you take action?
Here are few reasons:
1. You are tired.
Working tired is perhaps something we are all guilty of – yet we do a task, thinking that we can perform it as well as if we were alert. Unfortunately this is not true.
Previously I have been guilty of this too; I began working tired and then the next day I had to go back and fix things, because I was not focusing enough initially.
Fortunately, I have learned from those mistakes and I now understand to quit working if I’m too tired to concentrate.
Some of the great ways to fix your tiredness is to:
- Take powernaps (20 minutes max)
- Make sure that you get enough sleep (this depends of the person)
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and chilly enough
- Exercise regularly (but not immediately before going to sleep)
- Avoid eating heavy meals a few hours before going to bed
2. You are not motivated to do the task.
Another cause for distraction is that you are not motivated to do the task in the first place. Your mind wanders and you are not producing the best work quality that you are capable of.
If you are not motivated, you have to figure out why you are doing the task in the first place:
- If that task belongs to your job, then you just have to deal with it since it’s part of the work. On the other hand, you can always discuss the situation with your boss – maybe you two will be able to come up with a solution for your issue.
- If the task is set by the law (like reporting your taxes to authorities), then there is nothing you can do about it – you just have to do the task even if you don’t like it (making sure to do it sooner than later).
- If the mundane work belongs to your personal project, you might consider outsourcing it for someone else, automating it or even questioning yourself: “Is this task really necessary?”
- Finally, if you have no justification for the task and it is not mandatory to do – then why are you doing it at all?
3. You are distracted both physically and mentally.
Distraction exists on many levels and it’s one of the biggest reasons for underperforming in your work.
Not only is electronic distraction (e-mails, social media or Internet in general) ruining your work focus, it is also the physical and mental distraction that’s causing you to work with partial focus and achieve partial results.
First, you should find a place where you can fully focus on your task. This could be a library, coffee shop or out in the park. Also, make sure you have all the electronic distractions like e-mail, cell phone or instant messaging turned off.
Second, if it’s your mind that’s causing you to underperform, make sure that you are fully rested, you are not hungry when you work and that you are not going through any type of emotional rollercoaster.
The fact is that all of these can increase your distraction level thus decreasing the chance of optimum output.
4. You don’t know how to do it.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work on a task, but you don’t have a clue how to do it. If your skills are not enough for the task, then you are going to face a rough times trying to complete it while keeping your deadlines.
In a situation like this, you can reach out to other people.
In a day job situation, let the project manager or your boss know about the situation and have a chat together to figure out what to do (do you need mentoring or other colleagues to help you out?).
If this is your personal project or hobby we are talking about, you have to be willing to ask for help. I bet there are many people out there who have encountered a similar situation like you before.
Simply by asking, you can solve many frustrations and produce quality work.
Be “almost perfect”
When you decide to work on a task, make sure that the conditions surrounding you are as enjoyable and relaxing as possible (see the steps a-d above).
It is important to be “as perfect as possible.” In other words, whenever you perform a task, execute it with 100% commitment and focus. This means that you are doing the best you can with your current conditions and skillset.
Instead of aiming for perfection when executing your work steps, try to have perfect focus instead. This ensures that you produce quality work with the least amount of wasted time and energy.
It is important to realize that working with less than 100% focus is an inefficient way to complete tasks. In the worst case, you have to go back and fix errors – something that could have been avoided if you were focused from the get-go.
When you work on your task, make sure that the environment supports your productivity. This means cutting the online connections for a while, and if necessary, moving to a separate physical location while you work.
Finally, having a calm, rested mind is also a great way to tackle mental distraction. To increase your chances even more for great results, make sure you body is fed properly before you start working.
(Photo credit: Bored Young Businessman via Shutterstock)
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