We’ve all done it. We have an important task or phone call to complete but get a notification or text. We intend to quickly check our Facebook or Instagram account and get back to work but an hour later we’ve accomplished nothing but a personality quiz and an online debate about the usefulness of Q-tips. It’s easy to be distracted by our phones, computers, televisions, family, friends, coworkers—just about anything.
Is Distraction the New Norm?
Three out of four people in the workforce report feeling distracted while at work. A whopping 16 percent say they’re almost always distracted, with Millennials and Gen Z reporting being the most distracted. Some of the problem stems from the places we work, especially with most of us working remotely surrounded by our loved ones, with an increased lack of privacy or quiet area to focus on work. Some come from employees themselves who are guilty of sending constant IMs, using company time to surf social media, or visiting other desks in search of a quick chat. 80 percent of workers cited coworkers and office noise (digital and physical) as most distracting; and 60 percent said that an overabundance of meetings were an interruption to their concentration. That’s all before you take into consideration smartphone distractions, relationship distractions, and family struggles that keep us from focusing on the tasks at hand.
Distractions Come at a Cost
All of this distraction can affect a company’s bottom line. A study at UC Irvine reports that when people are distracted, they try to work faster to compensate for the missed time, causing more errors in their work, which costs their workplace money. It also causes more stress and frustration for the employee. This negative effect on our emotions takes a toll on our health. Stress is one of the leading causes of disease and obesity in our nation. Udemy for Business reports that 34 percent of employees dislike their jobs because of the distractions in the workplace, but most report they don’t discuss the problem with their supervisors despite the fact that productivity in the workplace goes up 75 percent when distractions are reduced. Employees report that motivation increases by 57 percent, and 49 percent of employees are happier at work when distractions are minimized as much as possible.
Our lives are full of distractions. Distractions can cause confusion and doubt and leave us feeling uncertain about which direction to go in. Daily pressure makes it difficult to focus our thinking, but it’s not an impossible task. Imagine a life free of distractions and confusion, being able to concentrate with laser focus. Learning to improve mind clarity will help your life become easier to manage.
When you gain clarity, you become attuned to what your body needs and how to deliver it. To attain clarity, you need to remove the excess in your life and rid yourself of unimportant and unnecessary things. Distractions only serve to divert your attention from what’s really important. Getting clear on what matters most to you and getting rid of the leftovers is important.
One of the things preventing us from having clarity is the mind chatter we experience daily. Our minds like to be in control of everything we do–until we override that control and remind ourselves to stay present in the moment. That takes conscious effort at first, but eventually can become a habit. Even the simple act of realizing you’re not being present, returns us to the present so be persistent and soon you’ll have the peace you need to focus on your goals.
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Our Top Five Tips to Improve Clarity and Focus
Here are a few simple tips you can try to experience clarity and focus in your daily life:
- Exercise. Harvard’s Health Blog says that exercise can improve mental clarity directly and indirectly. First, exercise reduces insulin resistance and inflammation in the body. It also stimulates growth factor. Growth factors are chemicals in the brain that help brain cells maintain good health and promotes the growth of blood vessels in the brain. Exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress. Stress and lack of sleep are proven to contribute to brain fog, our inability to focus, and we fall prey more easily to distractions around us.
- Practice mindful meditation. Studies show that the brain experiences positive changes in awareness and attention after meditation. A consistent meditation practice also promotes the growth of more gray matter in the hippocampus area of the brain which is responsible for memory and recall. Literally, the practice of mindful meditation increases your ability to focus on tasks and remember information. Need a little help getting started? Our brain entrainment app, BrainTap™, is scientifically proven to increase overall clarity and focus in just 20 minutes a day.
- Stop multitasking. Many people believe multitasking increases our productivity, so we try to get many things done all at once—and usually, none of them get done well. To improve focus, be deliberate about what tasks you’re completing and stop pressuring yourself to multitask. Organize your schedule so you have time to complete each task that needs to be completed in its own time.
- Pick your timing. Most of us have a specific time of day that we perform at our best and it’s not the same for everyone. To improve your focus on important tasks, figure out what your peak personal time is and do the bulk of your work during that time. For example, if you’re a morning person, schedule yourself uninterrupted work time in the morning to focus on critical tasks and catch up on the more menial tasks later in the day when you don’t need full attention to complete them.
- Eliminate Distractions. How many times have you been focusing on a task and hear a phone ping? 15 minutes later we’re still looking at our phones, the task forgotten. Recovery from distractions takes time away from what we really need and want to be focusing on. If you can’t resist your phone, turn off notifications until your tasks are done. Once you realize how important it is to do the things that matter, it is easy to eliminate those things that don’t help us reach our goals.
Gaining clarity can help us make better decisions, set more attainable goals, become more trusting, and live a healthier and more meaningful life. Brain Health Sciences offers a simple and effective “brain entrainment” app to help regain your sharpness and dexterity and lift the cloud of brain fog that is holding you back. You’ll be able to concentrate more fully, think more clearly, and focus on the things that matter to you. Learn more today