How to Overcome Distractions as a Teenager in 2021
Welcome to this post about how to overcome distractions as a teenager in 2021!
You are just about to start your homework assignment when your parents start talking in the room right next to you. Trying to ignore the voices, you start to answer the questions. Thinking about what to type becomes hard as your brain is taking in the conversation happening right next to you and also trying to remember the answer. Miraculously, you get through the first three questions, but then the messages start flowing in. The sound of the ping occurring every 4 seconds, urging you to just pick up your phone and see what’s going on. If you’re like most teenagers, you most likely will, and before you know it, your hands will be glued to the phone for the next 45 minutes.
45 minutes later…
“Shoot,” you say. The assignment is due in one hour. Wanting to complete it as fast as you can, you decide to just search up the question on google. Your eyes widen when the first result has the exact question on it. You click on the website, and right then and there, a shopping ad appears for whatever you recently bought – new clothes, a skateboard, a pair of shoes. We all know what happens next… “Mom, mom, mom! Can I please have your credit card?”
Distractions are EVERYWHERE; in your head, on your phone, to your left to your right… Is there any place where you won’t find a single distraction? The likely answer is “no.” So, instead of wasting your time and energy on trying to run away from them, learn how to overcome them! Wherever you go, distractions will follow you, but if you overcome them wherever you are, you are saving time and energy that you can now spend on completing your work and following your passion.
If you are like most teenagers, including me, who get distracted with the tiniest of interruptions, this blog is perfect for you. We’re living in a fast-moving and modern world, and the distractions around us are only going through an increase as time goes on. Lucky for you, you’re at the right place at the right time, so you can get the most out of your present and your future. By starting early as a teenager on learning how to overcome distractions, you can maintain this skill, so that in the future, when your work piles up, you can complete them in time. So, without further ado, here are 10 tips to overcome distractions in 2021:
1. Master your internal triggers
“Most distractions start from within, and we use distraction to escape discomfort” – Nir Eyal
It’s time to stop blaming technology for procrastinating and not getting work done. Yes, there are external triggers that prompt you toward distraction, but Eyal indicated that the most common cause for distraction is actually internal triggers, the uncomfortable sensations we seek to escape from. In order to remove the need for distractions, we must first identify what emotions are prompting this. For example, do you open Instagram or Snapchat when you feel lonely? Do you open Buzzfeed or Reddit when you are bored?
“When you recognize what your internal triggers are, you can now allow yourself to feel that feeling you’ve been likely avoiding, or running away from. The next time you are uncomfortable and reach for your phone, take a moment to pause and feel the uncomfortableness. Instead of viewing this as a negative, find pride in allowing yourself to work through the discomfort and recognize it as a moment of growth rather than weakness.” (Forbes)
2. Create a distraction-free ritual
By ritual, I don’t mean a ceremony or anything like that; a distraction-free ritual is some small steps you should take to help focus on your most important tasks. For example, start by enabling an ad-blocker on your computer, put on noise-cancelling headphones, put your phone in another room, grab a cup of coffee or drink you like, and get to work! Of course, you can personalize your ritual to what suits you best and what helps you most.
3. Set three main goals for the day
Look at your to-do list. How many tasks do you have to complete? 5, 7, 10… And, how many tasks have you actually crossed of your list? 0,1,2…
If you have a long list of tasks to complete, you can easily feel overwhelmed and stressed, causing us to give up before we even start and give in to distractions. Lucky for you, there is a solution. Give yourself 3 objectives to accomplish each day, and write them on a sticky note or piece of paper so that you can remember and see it every time you look up from your work.
By limiting the number of goals to accomplish, you can clearly define how and what you want to spend your day working on. With this, you can work with greater intention and your mind will be too focused to get distracted.
Every morning when you wake up, think about the top 3 things you want to complete, and if you get done with them early, you can move on to the less-important tasks!
4. Give yourself a shorter time frame
Just because you worked for hours and hours doesn’t mean that you accomplished many things during that time frame – You could have been distracted and not focused on your work, causing you to take a longer time to complete the task. To help overcome distractions, another tip that helps is giving yourself a shorter time frame. This helps because when we don’t have anything urgent to complete, our mind usually fills that time with distractions. However, if we set a deadline and time to complete it by, it gives our mind a sense of urgency, which helps us complete the task and avoid getting distracted. When you know you have to get something done, your mind will find a way to get it done!
5. Do more challenging work
If you’re easily distracted while working, it may mean that your work isn’t engaging you fully. You might feel like you’re working hard all day, but it could be that your mind is fighting boredom and looking to fill the time with something more interesting.
A solution to this is taking on and working on challenging tasks. Challenging and complex tasks require more of your memory and attention, resulting in an engaged mind. We’re more likely to be focused on a task when it challenges our abilities and requires us to work hard.
If you feel like the amount and/or level of work you’re doing is too low for your capabilities, try taking on more work that pushes and tests your skills and limits. See where it takes you, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment it brings!
6. Monitor your mind wandering
We spend nearly 50 percent of our waking time thinking about something other than what we’re supposed to be doing, according to one Harvard study. In order to prevent this, you must start to pay attention to your thoughts and recognize when your mind starts drifting. This allows you to manage what you focus on and redirect your thoughts when you slip up. Instead of allowing yourself to keep meandering over to social media to check out your newsfeed, you actively put the brakes on this distraction. This helps because once you give in and put your focus towards something useless, it’s harder to bring your attention back to the task at hand.
7. Train your brain by making a game
Your mind is like a muscle. In order to use it effectively, you need to build it up. We need to train our brains to stay focused by gradually working on our concentration. This will strengthen our ability to focus for longer periods of time.
A great way to begin doing this is through the “Pomodoro Method,” in which you set a timer and are completely focused on a task for a period of time, such as 45 minutes straight. Then allow yourself a 15-minute break.
If 45 minutes is a stretch, start with something more manageable, such as 25 minutes, and then give yourself a five-minute break. The idea is to make a game of it — challenge yourself to work diligently on your task until the timer rings. Then allow yourself to gorge on whatever distraction you want, but only for an allotted time.
After the break, it’s back to work again until the timer rings. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done using this method!https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324560
8. Clean your surroundings
If your surroundings and the environment you’re working in is messy and decluttered, it is very likely that your mind will be too. Just like how we get influenced by the environment we in, we can also get distracted by it.
It helps to empty the wall in front of you to keep your mind focused. Photos and other posters may look aesthetically pleasing, however, they will make your mind wander. Along with this, clean your desk or the table you are working on by removing unnecessary items on it and keeping them in a drawer. Yes, this includes your phone.
Along with this, not only is it important to clean your environment, but also be sure to declutter your laptop/computer by closing out of tabs you don’t need and enabling ad-blockers.
9. Break it down
Personally, I know that when I am given a task which requires multiple hours and consistent effort, I get discouraged before I even start. And, when I do start, I’m not actually focusing on what I am doing. This leads me to actually wanting to get distracted so I don’t have to do the work.
Ever since I found out about this tip, my productivity and effort on my work have definitely increased. By breaking things up and doing it one step at a time, I find it much easier to stay focused and not get distracted because I am dedicated to taking that one step. This also helps give a sense of accomplishment and progress, which is a bonus!
10. Break the cycle of stress and distraction
Stress can also play a major role in our inability to focus or overcome distractions. Too often, we find ourselves trying to work while feeling overwhelmed. This leaves us frazzled and exhausted, easily distracted and unable to focus. If you’re easily distracted, it can indicate that you’re under elevated stress.
There’s even a name for it: “easily distracted anxiety.” Symptoms include:
- You have difficulty concentrating and your mind constantly drifts from what you were focusing on.
- You have more difficulty forming thoughts and staying on track than normal.
- Your thinking feels muddled and impaired.
- You feel your short-term memory isn’t as good as it normally is.
Bringing your stress under control will help you regain your focus and overcome distractions more easily. You must find ways to calm your mind and relax your body to reduce the body’s stress response. Make sure you get enough sleep. Practice breathing exercises and find ways to contain your anxiety.https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324560
Distractions are everywhere; I would be lying if I said I didn’t get distracted at least once writing the paragraphs below the topics. Especially as teenagers, we need to stop getting distracted so many times during the day. They prevent us from focusing, being productive, and mainly, getting our work done! A perfect example is this quote:
“You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things.”
As this blog is coming to an end, how many times did you get distracted while reading this blog? If the answer is more than 2, that’s more the reason to follow these tips below:
- Master your internal triggers
- Create a distraction-free ritual
- Set three main goals for the day
- Give yourself a shorter time frame
- Do more challenging work
- Monitor your mind wandering
- Train your brain by making a game
- Clean your surroundings
- Break it down
- Break the cycle of stress and distraction
For more information, I highly recommend reading this book, called “Distractions: How to Overcome Distractions and Discover Your Purpose.” Moreover, be sure to watch this insightful TED video on “Attention, distraction, and the war in our brain.” Last but not least, if you’re working towards improving your life, check out this blog on how to organize your life in 2021!
Give these ideas a try, and see how much they’ll help you increase your productivity and become more efficient. Let me know in the comments if they work. These everyday small changes are the foundation for success in your lifestyle. Good luck and kudos to you for working towards improvement!
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