Harvard Business Research on To Keep Distractions at Bay

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Harvard Business research

In the year 2015, researchers gathered 2,000 Canadians and studied their brain activity using electroencephalograms.

A previous research done in the year 2000 had revealed that the attention span of  an average human is around 12 seconds. In comparison, the results revealed in the year 2015 were quite astonishing. And oh yeah, thanks to the mobile revolution, the attention span has plummeted from 12 to 8 seconds.

It is alarming to see how immune our attention span is with all these constant distractions and digital bombardments in the current age. But how can you be more productive in this digital overload?

Our brains are extremely powerful. We conjure up 50,000 thoughts a day. This alone is a mind-boggling study to tell us how easily we get distracted. While multitasking seems like a good job to many, it decreases our brain power, and our ability to memorize things in the long run.

Thanks to experts at Harvard, these are some tips that can help you better manage your time, energy, and resources to out-smart your brain and stay laser-focused (Caffeine free), no matter how many distractions clutter your day.

The ABC’s of Distractions

No – not the alphabets. This overly simple trick from Harvard Business review, will help you train your brain to be mindful when distractions pop up.

First, whenever a distraction, like the ping heralding a Facebook notification, or a message in your inbox, you need to be Aware of what your options are. Either you can get distracted or you can flip the notification aside and keep going with your work. Next is to Breathe deeply, and select an option wisely. Finally, Choose an option that will take you forward.

The Right Intentions

The next study conducted by Harvard experts revealed that mostly we are deliberate about our attention and even when we are distracted, we are actually choosing to be so.

When we wake up in the morning, we have a choice to give in to our urges and catch 5 more minutes of snooze or jump off the bed and start the day. We, then have the choice to plan our day, and decide what is important to us. Determine what expectations do we have from our colleagues, and what will be our mood for the day.

Once you come to the realization that you have a choice to make, you can start by making two lists for your day. The first includes the things to focus on, and second lists down things to ignore that will distract our attention and move us away from our goals.

Set your intentions in an optimistic manner. Mistakes are part of life. People mess up, things go wrong, but that doesn’t mean that you need to stop thinking negative before setting expectations for yourself.

Use Technology to Fire Back

Our attention spans have a pretty small window when it comes to dealing with notifications, flashlights, and vibrations on our phones, monitors, and fitness watches.

New research has revealed that when we get an alert on our phones, our dopamine levels rise and gives us pleasure, which we actually feed by checking the message.

While technology creates distractions in the first place, it can also be used to keep them at bay. Filter your email with automated tools or use free task management tools to save most of your time and energy. Seeing a notification will distract your brain and but technology can automate things for us.

Show Negative Emotions To the Door

No, it is not your iPhone or your laptop that hijacks your focus; it is the negative emotions which come in the baggage and make it deadly.

A psychology expert, Barbara Fredrickson, suggests a 3:1 ratio of positive and negative emotions for optimal focus. Why? This is because negative emotions are threats to your brain which hamper productivity at workplace.

The best way to deal with this problem is to take short breaks when you are caught in the whirlpools of negative emotions. You can use a trigger to break the pattern of diving into the negative emotional state.

Create Space

“Recent research indicates that meditating just for few minutes a day, spending just one hour a week in nature, or jotting down a few reflective notes in the evening, has a noticeable impact on well-being,” said Ed Batista in Harvard Business Review.

We can all create additional space in our everyday lives. This means we can commit to routines such as exercising, meditation, taking quick naps, and keeping a journal. Being consistent in these routines will help you sieve through distractions, and let you concentrate on the task at hand.

In the early years, individuals who practice these activities experience more success than their counterparts who just work all day. Pick the life of any business tycoon and you will find one of these habits in common. Continuous work is never a preferred choice, you need to relax your mind to get your focus back.

Yes, humans by nature are creations that have a tendency to get distracted easily.  By using these hacks backed by research, you can decrease your distractions and get more done in less time.

You can eliminate distractions in your projects with TaskQue’s unique Queue feature. Pick a list of tasks and create a project for it. Define workload for each task. Based upon the workload value (which is urgency of the task) you’ll see the tasks.

The best part is that you’ll see tasks in a Queue which means after completing the first task you’ll be able to move towards the second task. For more questions, feel free to post your queries right from your application through support form. Our experts will help you out to make your life more productive.

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