Focus and Distractions – Rhoads Life Coaching

We walk a daily path between focus and distractions. The practice of focus keeps our attention on what is most valuable to us. Distractions shift that focus away. We are inundated with distractions that prevent us from focusing.

I recently led an exercise where we quantified the impact of distractions on very simple tasks. Taking two children’s puzzles, two teams completed as much of two puzzles as they could in a short time. Then the two teams switched every 20 seconds between the same two puzzles, for the same amount of time, resulting in a 50% drop in pieces completed. Finally we combined the two puzzles together and work on both puzzles at once, resulting in ANOTHER 50% drop in pieces completed. The more distractions, the less focus! Even on a simple task, the distractions had significant impact.

If it takes on average 15 and 20 minutes to reach peak focus on a task, and most people experience some form of distraction every 11 minutes, we are constantly re-focusing before we are interrupted again. Is your job like this? How about your family conversations? We lose valuable time, energy, and effectiveness in all aspects of our lives from distractions.

In order to focus it helps to identify the few things that are the most valuable to complete in any given event. What are the five most valuable things that must be done today? Naming them each day creates focus.

Where are your greatest sources of distraction for a particular topic? Does the phone need to be put away? Do you need to close the door to your office for a few minutes? Being intentional about creating time and space for task reduces the number of distractions.

How are you going to focus and reduce distractions during your busy week? –

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