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4 Mindful Ways to Reduce Distractions and Increase Focus

January 20, 2022

Person typing on a notebook computer

Feeling distracted at work? Struggling to focus? 

You're not alone. 

A few strategic changes to your morning routine could supercharge your focus and set you on the path to a productive work day. 

Just remember to be kind to yourself as you implement these changes. New habits require patience and persistence. Stick with it and you'll start reaping the rewards. 

Avoid starting your day with emails

Starting with your emails shifts the focus away from your priorities and onto someone else's to-do list. Give yourself the first few hours to focus on your to-do list before you start responding to everyone else's needs.

If checking your emails has been part of your morning ritual for years, it's likely you do it without even thinking about it. 

To interrupt that cycle, consider removing the app from your phone or implementing time limits on the app. You could also stick a post-it note on your computer screen that says "focus on your to-do list before checking your emails". Sometimes, all we need is a strategically placed reminder to send us down a more productive path.

The reminder, whether it's a digital reminder that appears on your screen or a physical post-it note, must be consistent and highly visible to you in order for it to be effective. There's not much point setting a digital reminder for 10am if you step into the office at 9am. Be strategic with your reminders. 


Create the right audio environment

What do you want to hear in your ideal work environment? If you need complete silence to be productive, invest in noise-cancelling headphones. If you need some background music, curate a work playlist. If you're unsure, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of audio until you find what works for you.

You might require different inputs depending on the type of task you're working on. For example, you might like to listen to music when you're working on creative tasks but you might prefer silence when you're analysing data. 


Remove the sources of temptation 

Forget willpower. Forget self-control. It's just not reliable.

It's far more effective to optimise your workspace than to try and exercise willpower every second of the day. 

If you find yourself checking your phone more times than necessary, keep it in another room. Create a barrier between you the things that distract you. Out of sight, out of mind.


Stay off social media

Stay off social media until you've addressed your top priorities. Try implementing social media limits on your phone to combat the automatic habit of checking notifications. 

Jumping on social media as soon as you blink open your eyes is one way to create a busy mind. Avoid overloading your brain in the morning. Conserve your brain power for your most important tasks instead. Your social media feed can wait.