Living in the Information Age sure is wonderful. Possibilities are endless with a wealth of information and knowledge at our disposal. Education and learning new things have become very accessible, and that is great. However, there is also a downside to all this openness and accessibility, and that is the drive to create and consume more information has given us a greater likelihood of losing focus.
We live, basically, in the ‘Golden Age of Distractions’ and our ability to concentrate on anything has dramatically declined. Distractions are a fact of life. Anything that diverts our attention from our true, intended focus is a distraction.
Distractions constantly challenge our strength of will and cause us to act against our better judgment. They cause us to procrastinate, so it’s time to close out the various sources of our daily distractions and start focusing again.
A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” – Herbert Simon
Here are a few reasons why we are so easily distracted:
Insufficient Ability To Pay Attention
Our diminished capacity for focus could be a major suspect. Any type of work that requires our undivided attention or focus does not come effortlessly all the time. It actually requires strength of will. It may not be enough to rely on motivation to help a person fight off the distractions they are constantly exposed to.
The more distractions a person needs to deal with, the greater their willpower needs to be in order to be able to push the distractions away from their focus. Unfortunately, many of us end up succumbing to one distraction after another, like being in a vicious distraction-filled cycle.
By the end of the day, without realizing what’s been eating up most of our energy and time, all that’s been attended to are all the distractions. We need to protect our focus at all costs, and learn to pay more attention to the task at hand than to the distractions around us.
Sheer Lack of Interest
If you need to give something your undivided attention and are passionate about it, you are not as likely to be distracted by anything else. However, if you are distracted, you may be more passionate about whatever it is that is distracting you. Perhaps you enjoy the distraction more than your task, it’s easy to do. So passion wins most of the time.
If you are not interested or your task is boring, distractions will be accepted freely and easily. People who are interested or passionate about something are still vulnerable to distractions, so those who are less interested are twice as likely to be more distracted.
A person who needs to get something done can’t simply rely on enthusiasm or sheer interest for the task. To accomplish a task, less interested people must motivate themselves to focus better by helping themselves and employing their willpower.
Although that seems obvious, many people fall into the trap of waiting for inspiration or motivation to strike them before starting a task. With many jobs, it simply won’t. Put the ‘won’t power’ away! Having a deadline or a negative consequence associated with your actions could prove to be more motivating.
Being Interested In Something Else
Distractions can come from external sources, such as your email, a person, social media, and noises outside; they can come from all sorts of places. When distractions come from your own thoughts, such as being worried about something, overthinking how to tackle something, or being overwhelmed and stressed, these are all emotional, internal sources of distraction.
So if you have a task or a goal in front of you that pales in comparison to your own personal interest of the day, you may have a greater tendency to become distracted and act on what has been distracting you, before finally starting your tasks.
Being interested in something else other than what you should be focusing on tends to be the norm for many people today. It’s all because we have a multitude of external distractions that we are exposed to, not to mention the turmoil rolling around in our heads!
To improve your own personal experience, why not take a moment to look around you and see what your external sources of distraction may be. Can you remove them or avoid them? What about your internal thoughts? Can you put them to rest for a while?
If you can realign your focus to what you need to do, you will have been able to put your distractions aside and prevent them from feeding procrastination. That’s a great feat!