Keeping distractions at bay

Walter Code
4 min readMar 16, 2021

With the “work from home” practice continuing, we are tempted to discuss this rather intriguing topic. Being distracted is something people often deal with, but how to efficiently deal with distractions, and how to increase the efficiency of your work, is the topic of today’s Medium story!

Now, we will mention a couple of things that have proven to help you arrange your time towards the priorities. These are our research results, it doesn’t necessarily have to work for you, but these approaches might help! Of course, we are all different, and various methods work for each of us.

Make a list

You have probably heard this one a million times, but that is so because it actually works! Making a list of responsibilities, or tasks, for the day allows you to filter out the unnecessary work while focusing on what’s important. The goal is to relieve yourself by getting everything out of your head and onto a piece of paper, clearing your mind while doing so. Don’t focus too much on the order you write it in as much as just trying to write the information down. Once you have it all written down, you’ll be able to prioritize and make the list more detailed and ordered!


Some things are more important than others, we are all well aware of that. Look at deadlines, as well, they might be very helpful when trying to figure out the priorities. By splitting the list into bits that separate the work that is necessary, you’ll know what is what. Chores at home and work assignments, for example, should be in different categories, so you don’t mix their importance.

Mute notifications

With all the communication going through virtual platforms, this might be easier said than done. But overall, notifications, ringtones, alerts — they distract us! As much as it is a habit to check your social networks during your work, it affects you more than you think. Try to turn off the notifications for these unnecessary distractions. Slack, for example, is currently quite key to communication with your team, and it might be a necessary evil. But, getting rid of the less necessary notifications might help you stay more focused on priorities that you’ve already pinpointed.

If you select a time to take a break and check your social networks, it will become easier to stay away from it when it might sidetrack you.

Schedule your time

An average 8-hour workday seems like a big stretch. Breaking it down into smaller portions makes it a lot more achievable. Humans, and their focus, work in shorter time spans. That’s why you’ll see people working for 45 minutes and then making a 10-minute break. If you are aware of your need to take a break, you might plan it out in advance thus making sure that your “work” time is used up as efficiently as possible.

“Easily distracted anxiety”

Stress at work leads to easier distraction. “Easily distracted anxiety” is a term coined for it. Scientists have even pinpointed symptoms to help you recognize them:

  • You have difficulty concentrating and your mind constantly drifts from what you were focusing on.
  • You have more difficulty forming thoughts and staying on track than normal.
  • Your thinking feels muddled and impaired.
  • You feel your short-term memory isn’t as good as it normally is.

With more work on your hands, stress is sure to follow, and we suggest really digging into this topic. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, and you should really take the time to find your own. Hobbies, working out, breathing exercises, and such, are proven methods, but they might not work for you, so it’s important to really dig into it and realize what helps you deal with stress!

More challenging work

Being unable to focus, or being chronically distracted might be the result of your work not being engaging enough. If your brain isn’t fully engaged and focused on a particular task, it will surely look for distractions, to satisfy its capacity.

Complex tasks and challenging work require more attention, more working memory. That can be quite helpful! When your brain is busy working on a difficult assignment, it’s fully engaged, and it isn’t spending its energy and focus on irrelevant distractions because its capacity is entirely used on work. When our abilities are challenged, we’re more likely to be totally immersed in our work. Similarly, if your skills exceed the demand of work, we get bored and look for distractions. Our mind is used to focusing on anything that’s novel, pleasurable, or threatening, so understanding this and searching for it can go a long way in cutting the distractions out! A sense of achievement is achieved when tackling such challenging tasks.

There you have it, some tips on how to cut out distractions and be more efficient and satisfied with your work! Since this is a very subjective topic, we encourage you to share your ways of dealing with distractions with us. We’d be more than happy to learn how you accomplish it!