The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

August 8, 2019

In this book by Adam Gazzaley and Lary D. Rosen, we see the consequences that constant multitasking and social media distractions have on our daily productivity. This book is really important as it brings attention to the key players that keep us from achieving our long-term goals, or decrease our quality of work. Constant noises emitting from our phones call out to us during work, offering a more interesting alternative to the dull task at hand. Meetings, emails, and phone calls often serve as unnecessary interruptions and add to a distracting atmosphere that reduces efficiency. So, how do we train ourselves to achieve our goals despite interferences that are undoubtedly going to occur? Here are some ideas:

  • Limit accessibility: Focus on a single screen. Keep your phone out of direct reach and on silent. Make use of apps that track your screen time, and set goals for how much screen time you really want to be spending on each site. Be disciplined about following these limits!
  • Find new ways to be less bored: Rather than reaching for instagram when your mind begins to wander from work, try some new strategies. Take a short break – exercise, spend time in nature, read a book. Play music while you work – this can increase productivity too! Take a power nap – even a 10-minute nap has the ability to improve cognitive function.
  • Control your FOMO: We all know the anxiety of FOMO (fear of missing out), but there are ways to combat this type of feeling. Let people that you frequently interact with know that you will not be on your phone for the next hour or so. Thus, they will only contact you if it’s urgent. Additionally, by silencing your phone or putting it on do-not-disturb, you are less likely to be anxious if you receive a message and do not respond.

For more in-depth strategies about how to fight distractions, check out this article, or the book mentioned above!