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Focused Series - Staying Focused in a Digital Age


The digital age has done a number on our focus. Even the most motivated of people can get instantly distracted when they see that little notification come up on Facebook or they notice another text or email has come up for their phone. This can make it difficult to stay focus and get anything done. And with more and more technology coming in all the time, it is just going to get worse.

The Distraction of Our Phones

Our phones are often our biggest distractions. They are no longer just a simple device to call someone on. They provide us with text messages, emails, social media alerts, and phone calls all in one. It is no wonder that they will provide us with hours of entertainment and distractions that make getting work done almost impossible.

With our phones going off all the time, staying focused will be hard. When we hear the ding or the vibration that alerts us that a text or an email or some other alert has occurred on our phones, we instantly want to pay attention. Even when we admit that the information is probably not that important and can wait, our focus has shifted and it will bother us until we check. This takes time away from work and can make it hard to get back on task, especially if this happens many times.

While our phones can be a really useful tool, they are one of the worst distractions when you want to get things done. If you are serious about helping your focus, then the first thing to work on is removing your phone. You may need to drop the phone off with someone else or turn it off so you can avoid all these distractions and keep yourself on task.

Digital Minimalism

At least when you are trying to get work done, you need to become a digital minimalist. This basically means that if the

technology is not needed to get the work done, then it has to go. If you can do all the work without any technology, then turn it all off. Your goal is to see how much of the technology you can turn off or take out of the room and see how quickly your focus comes back into play.

Maybe you need to work on a report for a project. Spend half an hour or so online looking up information that you need, printing off the emails with relevant information, and gathering all the facts you need. After that half an hour, print everything off and then turn off the internet. If you are able to write out the report, then turn off the whole computer. If you need to type it up, go and physically turn off the Wi-Fi while you do your work.

This is important

Do not assume that you can keep yourself away from social medial, searching online, emails, and everything else while you are on the computer. Some people can do this and may not need to turn everything else off. Others may be tempted to check things all the time. When you unplug the Wi-Fi, the only thing you can use is Word, or other similar software that does not need to be plugged in.

Don’t forget to turn off the other digital options around your office. Turn the phone off, the speakers off, and anything else that may connect you to the internet and any of the world outside your office door. You do not have time for that right now and it can all wait.

With all of it turned off, you have no more distractions. You can use the research you found earlier to help write your report and get stuff done. If you have a question or something you need to double check, do not turn the internet back on or reach for your phone. Make a little note on a post-it and look at it when all the work is done. You will be amazed at how quickly a report can get done when you focus all your attention on that rather than on every distraction that goes on around you.

Each thing is going to be a little bit different on how you do digital minimalism. If you are a social media expert, you will probably need to be on Facebook or something similar to get the work done. But you can turn off your email and phone during that time and make sure that you only spend time on work social media and not your own. With each project you work on, think of how many digital items you can turn off before you begin and see what a difference it will make.