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Staying on Track in a Cluttered World


It is easy to get distracted when the events around us are new, different, or shocking. Once we get distracted, we are no longer as productive. Productivity often peaks when we can focus on a single activity without diverting our attention. Worry, sorrow, and anxiety are all causes of distraction. Excitement, too much energy, and anticipation are just as likely to steal our focus from the task at hand.

How do we avoid distractions and get the most out of our day? There are several techniques listed below that should help you stay on track and avoid the pitfalls that often lead to missed deadlines, an unhappy boss, and missed opportunities.

Look Inward

Is it you? Is there something bothering you or going on in your life that is distracting you? Address these personal issues as soon as possible because they tend to escalate.

Get Off the Internet

Do not randomly surf the internet looking for ideas or inspiration. If you need online help, be specific, search for exactly what you need. If you can't find it in 10 minutes, move on.

Take a Break

Sometimes the best way to enhance your focus is to get away from the problem, then return refreshed and ready to attack the issue.

Take Small Steps

Large jobs are easier if we break them down into smaller tasks then tackle each task one at a time.

Shut Off Electronics

Try shutting off electronics and tune out ring tones, television, and radio. These may be bigger distractions than you think. If incoming calls are a problem, either send them to voicemail or let callers know you are unavailable to talk or text.

Clean Up

If you find yourself being drawn to other projects it may be because of clutter in your work area. A dirty office is often distracting because your mind may be pulled to items on your desk or general work area.


Take a deep breath and try to relax. Ramped up anxiety can be very distracting.


Preparing for a project in advance leads to higher productivity. Distractions such as looking for supplies, completing research, contacting sources, and many others can send you down an unproductive path.

Create a Time Table

Target a project for 60 to 90 minutes then take a break. You don't want to burn out, the longer you work the more likely it is that you will hit a wall and lose focus.

Shut Your Door

Shutting your door is the easiest way to avoid distractions. If you can't hear or see what is going on around you it is much easier to focus.

Implementing these tips, while developing habits that avoid distractions, will make you more productive. With everything that is going on around us, creating a distraction-free environment keeps you on track and able to meet your goals.


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