7 Ways to Avoid Distractions While Working

By: Jenna Savage


Last week, we addressed a study that examined how brief interruptions can make a big impact on a person’s focus. In fact, as the article explains, minor lapses in focus can make people twice as likely to make mistakes. That means that quickly checking your cell phone for text messages or emails while you are trying to work or study could have detrimental results.

To avoid putting yourself in a position where your focus can be easily interrupted, there are steps that you can take to cut down on distractions. Follow the steps below to ensure that you won’t make a lot of mistakes while you are hard at work.

  1. Create a to-do list. Making a list of everything that you need to accomplish is a good way to prioritize your goals. It will help you determine which responsibilities you need to tackle right away and which can wait until later. Then you’ll be able to focus on one task at a time — in order of importance.
  2. Manage your time in blocks. Designate blocks of time to complete tasks. If you do, you’ll be able to finish assignments within a designated time frame, during which you can avoid the temptation to slack off.
  3. Take real breaks. Rather than taking short breaks that interrupt your focus, reward yourself by taking actual breaks from work. In between your designated time blocks, take ten minutes to go for a walk or eat a snack. Give your brain a chance a rest before you go on to your next task. And if you take your breaks in between ending a responsibility and starting a new one, the interruption won’t cause you to make errors.
  4. Turn off your cell phone. It may seem like glancing to see if you have any text messages won’t be harmful to your work, but in actuality, it can lead to mistakes. Turn off your cell phone and leave it off until you’re able to take a true break from work — after you reach your goal.
  5. Turn off email alerts. Even if you don’t check your email while you’re working, simply seeing the alert in the corner of your computer screen or hearing the chime is enough to detract from your concentration. Turning off email alerts will keep your attention from drifting.
  6. Exit out of social media websites. Whether you use social networking to keep up with your friends or to quickly contact your coworkers, consider logging out from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even messenger programs. If you do, you won’t be tempted to see what’s going on with everyone else while you are trying to work.
  7. Let everyone know you’re busy. If you have roommates or coworkers who may interrupt you while you’re working, let them know that you need
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    to focus for a little while. There’s nothing wrong with requesting some interrupted time to concentrate on your assignments.