To Deal with Distractions, Retrain Your Brain to Focus…

Focusing is hard — and blaming that on the constant distractions around us is easy. But trying to get rid of distractions isn’t enough to fix the problem. We also have to retrain our brains to concentrate.

For example, when your work is interrupted by email, the real issue isn’t email; it’s that being tethered to your inbox makes you expect an interruption every few minutes. To help your brain relearn to focus, try “single-tasking”: Open only one window on your computer screen, or give your full attention to a single task at a time.

Also, practice noticing when your attention veers off course and then gently guiding it back to what you’re doing. If you think of something important while you’re doing focused work, jot it down on a notepad and come back to it later. Practicing attention management like this will build your “attention muscle,” which will give you greater control over distractions.

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