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Friday, June 12, 2015
Tips for Avoiding Distraction at Work
You start the day with the best of intentions. You are not going to get distracted. Not. Going. To. Get. Distracted.
Then you think you’ll just do a quick Gmail check to make sure you’re not missing anything critical. After that, you check your Instagram account – might as well while you’re already online, right? A quick peek at Twitter and you’re ready to settle into work.
About that time, a co-worker interrupts, asking if you can take a quick look at an email she needs to send an unhappy customer. Finally, back to work where you’re pulled away 10 minutes later when the boss sends you an email asking for a project update.
By the end of the day, you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, once again frustrated that you’ve had so many distractions you haven’t reached the goals you set.
It’s a familiar story to Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, but one he says can be changed so that anyone can have a more productive and focused life. Author of “Driven to Distraction at Work,” Hallowell is a leading expert on ADD and ADHD, and says that traditional advice such as making a to-do list doesn’t work because it ignores the deeper issues that are the cause of mental distraction.
Hallowell says there are six common ways that people lose their ability to focus at work and the emotional and psychological reasons behind each one:
1. Screen sucking. This latest and fast-growing addiction to the Internet and social media make people feel “high” when hyper-focusing on their electronic screens and they feel an actual loss without them. They may “self-medicate” by staying glued to their gadgets instead of dealing with feelings of frustration about their career, for example. Some strategies to overcome it include closely tracking how much time is truly spent online, keeping a list of activities to occupy yourself when bored and trying to communicate more face-to-face.
“Just about everyone has a bad Internet habit,” Hallowell says. “You can be upfront about that (at work), and say we as a group need to take this seriously and give each other permission to set boundaries. I would NOT use the word addiction, as that would scare people too much.”
2. Multitasking. Constantly feeling bombarded by (read more here)