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5 reasons why you’re distracted and how to overcome it

Do you spend hours every day scrolling through Instagram? Do you find yourself constantly thinking about other things when you’re trying to complete a task? 

In this day and age, staying focused is a nearly-impossible when there are SO many distractions EVERYWHERE. Whether it’s text messages, social media notifications, a new show on Netflix or just chatting to co-workers, distractions are part of everyday life, but it’s a CHOICE whether you succumb to temptation. 

Self-awareness is the first and one of the most important steps in discovering what feeds your small attention span. Sitting down and working out what does and doesn’t work for you in terms of productivity is the only way to focus your mind and give 100% effort to your work or the task ahead. 

But that’s not the only thing you can do… 

Keep reading to find out what causes distraction and some of my top tips for what you can do to overcome them!

Reasons you’re distracted 

Apart from the fact that some people are just downright lazy, there are multiple reasons why certain people are more susceptible to distractions than others. 

Adult ADHD

Adult Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) isn’t just something kids experience, it can also follow into and develop in adulthood. 

ADHD can manifest itself in different ways for each person. It doesn’t always entail hyperactivity, but it can cause poor concentration and inattentiveness- i.e difficulty concentrating. 

ADHD  isn’t overly common in Adults and is usually mistaken for a lack of concentration. But let’s be clear, they are two very different things! 

If you think you might have it, don’t jump the gun and self-diagnose. Book an appointment with your GP and have some tests. All self-diagnosis will do is stop you from identifying the real reason behind your lack of motivation. If you don’t have it, you’ll unconsciously use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card for being lazy! 

Boredom 

When we’re bored, we look for stimulation elsewhere. In this day and age, that tends to be scrolling through social media or turning on the TV. 

If you don’t like what you’re doing or you’re not invested in a task (for example, cleaning), it’s easy to become distracted and focus on something that’ll give you instant gratification, but that’ll only hurt you more in the long run.

‘Mundane’ tasks, like working, keeping the house clean and organising your finances provide greater satisfaction long term and will actually help to motivate you. 

Stress 

When people feel stressed, they look for an escape or something to relax them. What people SHOULD do is take that time to exercise, meditate or try breathing exercises, but most opt for eating and scrolling. This is not a long-term solution. 

To overcome stress, you need to identify the underlying issue and solve it. This could be your career, the relationship you’re in or perhaps a lack of self-esteem but until you work out what the REAL problem is, stress won’t just go away. 

Tiredness 

Staying focused, aware and present is just as mentally taxing as physical work and should be treated as such. When we’re exhausted, our brain just doesn’t work the same way, it is lethargic and slow, just like the body after exercise. 

This is why social media etc is so appealing- it doesn’t require any brain power or effort. 

Sleep is so integral to the way our bodies and minds work and can impact every part of life. Ensuring you get enough sleep every night will sharpen your mind, reduce anxiety and help you focus- plus, you’ll feel 100 times better for it in general. 

Lack of direction 

Uncertainty in life is one of the biggest causes of distraction. Why? Because if you don’t know what to do or what you want, scrawling the internet or watching TV might just trigger an epiphany- WRONG! 

Not everyone is lucky enough to know exactly what they want to do early on in life, it takes some people decades to finally find a passion.

However, you can look for inspiration in a PRODUCTIVE way. Read books, create a network, and even make new friends- all of these activities will benefit your life in a positive way and could present opportunities you’d never even considered. 


How to minimise distractions 

Even if your mind constantly runs wild and focusing on one thing for more than a few seconds seems impossible, there are ways to train your brain into being more productive.

Here’s how: 

Turn off your phone, computer and TV

This is such an obvious solution but very few actually do it. And to be honest, it is something I struggle with too – but I am trying to get better! (Remember self-awareness!….) 

Turn off all of your electronics, or anything that is a go-to distraction. Once you limit temptation, your mind will have no other choice than to focus on the task ahead and you’ll finally get it done. 

If you want to take things one step further, lock your phone in a drawer and sit away from your computer and TV (preferably in a different room). That way, you won’t keep teasing yourself with the prospect of turning them on and you’ll eventually forget it.

Tidy up 

You’ve heard the expression, a ‘clean space, a clear mind’, right? Well, I can tell you now it’s absolutely spot on. 

Cluttered environments are visually distracting and every object will capture your attention at some point. Therefore, the less clutter, the fewer distractions. 

Make a point each day to clean and organise the space you’re working in. Get rid of rubbish, wipe down your desk, tidy away lose documents and make space for your mind to zone in on one thing. 

And if you’re working from home, keep your office as simple as possible. Neutral walls, no pictures and plenty of storage to hide away any distractions! 

Establish a morning routine 

If you follow me on social media, you’ll see that my favourite time to work out is in the morning because it sets a precedent for the day ahead. 

A healthy morning routine promotes happiness, a rise in energy levels, relaxation and most importantly, improves your concentration.

If you’re one of those people that sets an alarm 15 minutes before you start work, runs around like a headless chicken and grabs a snack for biscuit, stop that, immediately. It’s the WORST way to start a day. 

At a minimum, set aside time every morning to properly wake up before you start the day. Ultimately, find what works best for you. That might include exercise, eating a substantial, healthy breakfast or reading a book for half an hour- anything, so long as it serves a purpose. Finding a morning routine that works for YOU will clear your mind and help you stay focused. 

Make a to-do list 

Setting yourself daily expectations is a great way to keep your mind on track. As humans, we crave organisation because it helps structure our days and minimises stress, which is why to-do lists and reminders are a must. 

If you know you’ve got a busy day coming up, organise all of your tasks and set yourself boundaries. In advance, decide what you’re going to complete first, designate a lunch hour, and then get started on the next task…

By doing this, you’re giving each day purpose! You’re creating yourself a challenge. When we’re more motivated to get the job done, we will- so do it! 

My final, most important piece of advice is to find something you love and follow it as a career. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t seem like an endless slog. Follow your passion, work towards something that’s important and you’ll no longer succumb to distractions. If you have a goal and a plan on how to achieve it, you won’t waste a second on meaningless shit- you’ll give it your all and you WILL succeed. 

If you need some more tips and guidance on how to stay focused and succeed in business, get in touch via info@matt-haycox.com for
1-2-1 mentoring!

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