In today’s busy modern society, distractions are everywhere. Due to the constant streams of breaking news, information about any topic you can search on the internet, cell phones and pinging text messages, and social media that surround our daily lives, it is too easy to be distracted from the more important parts of life, such as your goals, productivity, challenges that should be addressed, and other things that require significant focus to be successfully managed. In order to increase your ability to focus on these meaningful aspects of life, it can be helpful to practice strategies to help you tune out distractions.

Ways you can tune out distractions:

Practice meditation and mindfulness techniques.

Practicing meditation and mindfulness exercises can help you strengthen your ability to tune out distractions. One specific meditation exercise can be performed with the following steps: 

  1. Sit down on either the floor in a crossed-leg position or in a straight-backed chair.                                                                                                            
  2. Focus on a feature of your breathing, such as the flow of your breath as it comes in through your nose, fills your lungs causing your belly to rise, then leaves your lungs as you breathe out, causing your belly to fall, flowing out of your mouth.                                                                                       
  3. Once you feel calm and composed, widen your focus to include the sounds and sensations around you.                                                                      
  4. As thoughts come and go, simply allow yourself to observe them without judgment. If your mind becomes restless, narrow your focus back to your breathing and repeat the above steps.

Set a schedule with focus times blocked off from distractions.

If you know you have tasks you must accomplish without distractions, create a schedule for yourself to block off time slots to complete these tasks. During your scheduled “focus times,” simply turn off your cell phone (or at least silence it and use self discipline to leave it alone) and refrain from checking your email or turning on the TV or other forms of digital media.

Use your physical location to cue you to focus.

When having a hard time focusing at home, try changing your physical location to allow you to access a frame of mind that is able to focus more clearly. Using a study carrel at a library, a room at a friend’s house, or a co-working space can help you minimize the distractions that would be more likely to interrupt you if you were to work at your home.

Create a routine to help you get things done.

Sometimes the things that you have to do are regularly occurring, such as chores, paying bills, etc. Creating a routine can help you get these things done. Having a set time of the week, such as Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m., to pay bills and clean your house can help you remember to get these things done on time, rather than allowing distractions to slow you down.

If you find you are still struggling with maintaining focus, contact Chenal Family Therapy for help.