Constantly Distracted? Force Your Brain Back Into Focusing With This Simple Method

Dreaming? employee sitting at table


Distractions will derail any activity, from workouts to work days and even our meals but the real problem is our inability to eliminate all distractions. Even if you shut off phone notifications, there are hundreds of other outside sources trying to get your attention.

For example, as I’m writing this piece, there’s a weed whacker outside my window, and I CAN’T NOT HEAR IT!!!

Since eliminating all disturbances is impossible, the only logical course of action is to wire your brain to focus harder on the task at hand. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, according to the Harvard Business Review.

“Distractions are always lurking,” explains HBR. “like wayward thoughts, emotions, sounds, or interruptions. Fortunately, the brain is designed to instantly stop a random thought, an unnecessary action, and even an instinctive emotion from derailing you and getting you off track.”

The remedy is as simple to remember as ABC because, well, it’s called the ABC Method. Here’s how it works…

“To prevent distractions from hijacking your focus, use the ABC method as your brain’s brake pedal. Become Aware of your options: you can stop what you are doing and address the distraction, or you can let it go. Breathe deeply and consider your options. Then Choose thoughtfully: Stop? or Go?”

Let’s return to my weed whacker dilemma and apply the ABC Method. I’m aware of my options. I can either go outside and ask the person to stop or put on a pair of headphones. I take a deep breathe and consider my options. Now I choose.

HBR offers other suggestions for limiting distractions at work like setting meetings that ban laptops, tablets, cell phones, and other gadgets. If the disturbances are occurring internally, tame negative emotional frenzy by exercising, mediation and getting more sleep.

As for my issue, I resorted to headphones because the weed whacking didn’t stop, even though I asked the person nicely. I’ve also never seen my mom so pissed.

[via Harvard Business Review]

Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about career advice, gear and occasionally pro wrestling. Follow him on Twitter.

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