Laurie's Blogs.


Sep 2023

Part 2 – Reducing Distractions & Increasing Productivity

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling

Thank you to the folks that responded to the survey from last week.  What I LOVE is that many of you already have found or are doing some of the things that the author of the book – Stolen Focus – has researched to be valuable.  Let’s dive in!


What can you do to reduce distractions (and increase your productivity)?


1.  Pre-commit to a time when you will focus.  Pre-determine a time or a set time when you schedule yourself to focus, to work, to research, to write, to concentrate, etc.  In doing so, it is very much like making a deal or a contract.  


One of the respondents (and a physio colleague of mine – she identified herself in her comment – thanks Sue!), noted the following:  “ I found it helpful to schedule a specific time of day/week to focus and be productive - and not just sit down at a random time to try to focus and achieve goals… for example I would schedule Monday 9am-11:00am - during that time no phone and no interruptions to focus on whatever I needed to focus on! I would schedule as many time slots as I needed … I found it worked better than a more vague time frame…”


Another respondent said, “Definitely mute notifications on my phone and other devices. Working in 45 minute blocks with 15 minutes for "fun" and other necessities. I make sure I get up from any workspace in the 15 minutes - walk outside, dance with my dog, pee (of course!), make a cup of tea, chat to others, whatever grabs my attention in the break. I scroll social media once in the day. Great topic!”


And one more person wrote, “I don't turn my phone on until I'm walking into work in the morning. The emails and labs will be there and I am more willing to focus on it at the office to do it more efficiently. Suddenly my morning was mine to walk the dogs, clean the house, etc.”


2.  The book suggested taking time to have some technology-free time / holiday.  I think this sounds easier than it is, but it’s a worth goal.  Here’s what some of the survey respondents said:  


“No notifications on phone. Place phone in a different room and treat it more like an old landline phone.”


“Walking, cooking, talking with my spouse, treating animals and their humans. I have a cell phone but use it less than 5 minutes/week.”


“Get outside into Nature with my dog and no phone.”


3.  The book commented on the need to take care of oneself.  Eat good quality food, meditate, do yoga, and ensure that you have healthy sleep habits (wind down, reduce light at night, cool bedroom, etc.).  This sentiment was echoed by respondent who said:

“I make sure that I remember to eat and drink. A starved brain and body are not productive.”


4.  Allowing yourself to come up with times where you can have a ‘wandering mind’ can also be helpful.  So, basically, some ‘nothing time’, ‘down-time’, ‘reading time’, ‘low-brain-use times’.  Honestly, I think that this is why I have enjoyed my garden so much this year.  It has provided me with some ‘wandering mind’ time!


5.  Stop multitasking.  It’s a myth anyways!  I admit, this is a hard one for me to wrap my head around.  I often do multiple things at once.  I’ll have to give this a try!


6.  The book suggests asking yourself, “What can I be enthused to focus on?”  Sometimes you just need to figure that something out, and then other pieces come more easily afterwards!


7.  One last suggestion from a survey respondent was, “Check out Reduce Digital Distraction website  -  It tells you step by step how to reduce distractions on different devices.”


Beyond the things listed here, the book author had some bigger ideas of how, as a society, we might be able to influence the big tech giants to work for US and not the advertisers who want you scrolling and clicking.  Admittedly, the thoughts are beyond my ability to convey… but much like trying to make change in any other industry, it requires lobbying, time, reprioritizing, and putting your money where your mouth is!  And to be honest, that’s not where my FOCUS is!!  Ha! Ha!  Pun intended!  But hopefully, just listening to this book, and following up on some of the advice will help me to focus better WHERE I want and need to focus!


Best of luck to everyone trying to improve their focus this week!

Until next time…  Cheers!