Interruptions and distractions are troubles that all workers face at one time or another. They may seem like minor annoyances, but they can have a serious impact on the work we do.
For example, one of the biggest distractions for people today is various forms of social media. According to research, the time people spend on social media when they should be working costs the U.S. economy about $650 billion a year in lost productivity
People are checking their phones almost 60 times a day, spending at least a minute on them each time.
The Price Tag of Distractions
After an interruption, people tend to try and work more quickly to make up for lost time. But this has the effect of adding to our stress levels and frustration.
Even an interruption of just a few seconds can have an impact on performance. Studies have shown that people were two times as likely to make a mistake after an interruption that took only three seconds
Prevents deeper thinking
Studies have shown that the more people distract themselves with things like social media, the less capable they are of thinking in a more deep and systematic way.
How to Cope with Distraction
Our breathing can have a huge impact on our state of mind. Quick and shallow breathing is a signal to our body that there is a threat, and our stress and anxiety levels rise accordingly.
Breathing is the most effective way to calm your nervous system and put yourself into a more relaxed mood. Paying attention to the rhythm of your breathing and inhaling more deeply can help you to regain your focus much more quickly after being distracted.
If your feel your concentration flagging, breathe deeply and focus your mind on your breathing.
2. Creating a barrier
Try to minimize the number of notifications that you are receiving. There are apps like Self Control and Freedom that can help you to cut out social media. Turn off your phone notifications.
3. Look for patterns of distraction
If you are working on a project and encounter a task that is particularly hard or you begin to get fatigued, it is much easier to get distracted, not just by things in your environment, but by your own negative thoughts that create anxiety.
When this happens, you may find yourself scrolling through Twitter or YouTube to relieve the tension.
To stop this pattern of behavior, get away from the computer screen for a few minutes. Rest your eyes on some object close by for a few moments, and then take a deep breath and focus again on your work.