Skip links

5 Unconventional Techniques for Beating Distractions at Work

You’re distracted. You’ve created a to-do list for the day and tried everything to stay focused, but you’re still scrolling through Facebook instead of getting next month’s projections done. You’ve tried time blocking and installing extensions to block some websites, but no matter what you try you’re still not getting anything done.

suprised_goldfishIn case you think you’re alone, here’s an interesting factoid:

The typical office worker has an attention span of 8 seconds and a goldfish can focus on something for 9 seconds. 

Don’t panic. It’s time to give these five unconventional techniques a try. They just might be what you need to kick your concentration level up a notch.

  1. Let Go – Ever had that experience where the harder you try to control something, the more elusive it becomes? A big cause of stress is trying to control things that you can’t. Are you are using distractions to avoid dealing with stress, leading to inaction? Sound familiar? Try practicing letting go. It might be just what you need to focus.
  2. Take More Breaks Throughout the Day – When you’re distracted you might feel like you can’t take a break. After all, you need to make up for all the work you’ve been avoiding. According to recent studies, you might not be taking enough breaks. A 2015 study surveyed 95 employees who primarily use computers for work. They documented their breaks and found that whenever they intentionally stepped away, they felt less emotional exhaustion and experienced increased job satisfaction.
  3. Let Yourself Be Distracted – Seems counterintuitive, but enhanced creativity can often happen when you’re distracted, and being creative can help you focus and get more excited about what you’re doing. If you suspect that your distraction is holding you back, not fighting it might just help you break that wall.
  4. Make a Note of Triggers – If you don’t know the root cause of your distractions you might want to dig deep and try to figure out your triggers. Next time you’re scrolling through Facebook instead of getting work done, stop and think about why you’re avoiding the task. Only when you understand why, can you address the problem.
  5. Engage in Craft-Adjacent Play – Sometimes some mental calisthenics can help before jumping into work. Aaron Britt, content brand editor at Herman Miller does 20 minutes of anagrams with his team as a mental warm-up each morning. This purposeful play uses the same mental skills and resources he and his team use in their work.

Next time you find yourself distracted and nothing seems to work, try these five unconventional techniques. They just might be what you need to break down that wall and achieve the mental focus you’re looking for.

Leave a comment