Our lives are full of distractions. An email here, a Youtube video there, and our focus goes out of the window. Distractions are powerful, but they are not invincible. With the right system in place, eliminating everyday distractions can become self-evident. On this basis, here are 7 ways to cut out distractions in everyday life.
Ask yourself: how often did you lose concentration as a result of mundane distractions?
How often did you stop reading a terrific book because your phone vibrated? How often did you take your eyes off work by opening a sensationalist news story?
And finally, how often did you interrupt a deep conversation to check your phone?
These distractions hamper our productivity, mindfulness, and satisfaction.
They often provide 5 minutes of entertainment, but nothing more. To get anything worthwhile done, we need to eliminate them.
7 ways to cut out distractions in everyday life
The following are some of the most effective ways to cut out distractions in everyday life. Combined, these habits will ensure distraction-free living and bolster your work output.
1. Ensure distraction-free surroundings
The first step toward distraction-free living is to condition your surroundings for productivity.
Ask yourself: which items interfere with my productivity in this room?
If it’s your phone, put it somewhere else. If too much decoration steals your attention, declutter your walls. And if your distractions are email-based, check your inbox no more than twice a day.
The main point is to put yourself in the driving seat. Take control by decluttering your surroundings. That way, you’ll eliminate easily avoidable distractions right from the getgo.
2. Work in blocks
Another great way to cut out distractions in everyday life is the block principle.
Take one hour and dedicate that hour to one specific activity.
As an example, if you are working on a particular creative project, set yourself a time limit, and don’t work on anything else during that block.
Your blocks should naturally be adjustable. If you’re quicker or slower than anticipated, change the time limit to suit your needs.
The major challenge resides in sticking with one task during your block.
Many people nowadays celebrate multi-tasking, but completing various tasks at the same time offers a breeding ground for distractions.
Your focus is never fully fixated toward one activity, giving distractions more space to materialize.
Once you master the block principle, previous distractions will become past-time activities without impeding your self-defined work segments.
3. Simplify your tasks
Akin to the block principle, clearly defining a task is a powerful remedy against distractions.
The idea is to give your task a simple definition, purpose, and time limit.
Let’s take the example of a writing assignment.
Define it by establishing its content, length, purpose, and deadline.
I need to write a 3000-word essay on topic X. The goal of the essay is to accentuate reasoning Y. I need to get it done by Monday, so I’ll work on it for three hours today. That makes three one-hour time blocks.
You’ll have a simple roadmap to complete your project. The mechanics of your task are clearly defined, allowing you to focus without letting distractions get into the way.
4. Avoid random entertainment
To cut out distractions in everyday life, you need to understand the difference between proper entertainment and random entertainment.
The former can be a productivity booster by letting your mind roam free for a specific period. The latter, however, is a mere hindrance to getting things done.
Consequently, set fixed hours for real entertainment like watching a blockbuster at night. If you stop working at 7pm, give yourself all the entertainment you need in the evening.
Don’t pursue random entertainment in the middle of other activities.
That new trailer might look tempting, but it’s better to wait until you’ve finished your tasks. Those social media messages might only take five minutes to look at, but they’ll take your mind off work. And finally, all those news stories will be the same in a few hours.
The problem with random entertainment is that small sessions quickly add up. Before you know it, you’ve wasted an entire hour on Youtube.
When you feel the weight of your work, take a few minutes off and breathe.
Don’t take your phone out. Relax for a couple of minutes. Meditate and think about a soothing experience, like a waterfall.
When your productivity starts to crumble, it’s best not to take a long, entertainment-filled break.
You’ll have trouble regaining your focus after spending an entire hour on social media.
As such, a short stint of mindfulness is a much better option.
Digital minimalism is a great technique to cut out distractions in everyday life.
The best way to utilize digital minimalism is to set rules for your digital life. Find out which apps distract you most and regulate their usage.
If you struggle to limit your usage, take a more radical approach.
Disconnect from all your devices if you have to. Don’t let a screen destroy your zen factor.
And finally, digital detoxes – like a week without social media once in a while – are potent distraction killers.
7. Say no
Saying no is an underrated skill few people possess.
How can the act of saying no eliminate distractions in everyday life?
Simple, two many yeses lead to overcommitment. And overcommitment is a fertile ground for distractions.
By having too many irons in the fire, too many projects running, and too many social engagements, you fill your agenda with activities you might not be passionate about.
And this lack of passion will lead to a lack of focus – creating a distraction-prone environment.
Consequently, limiting your commitments and responsibilities will enable you to focus on the essential. And this essentialist approach will help you cut out distractions that would hamper your primary activities.
Useful links on 7 Ways to Cut Out Distractions in Everyday Life
- more in the section “Work”
- read 6 Mindful Ways to Slow Your Life Down
- more under the topic “Productivity”
- read 10 Minimalist Steps to Instant Productivity Improvement
- read 8 Minimalist Ways to Overcome Procrastination
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and full-time globetrotter. Thanks to minimalism, he built his ideal lifestyle around travel and online entrepreneurship, becoming a digital nomad in the process. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and lifestyle design, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.