IntroductionAre you distracted? People will not think much to answer this question and many will answer it instantly. Yes, concentration is essential to do any task and that's why many of us do practice concentration. Now, when you are practising concentration it can be said that you are distracted easily. Actually, nowadays this distraction is even more than earlier days. There are many things around us that will break your concentration and for that reason, you have to adhere to some techniques to avoid this distraction.
You might have heard that in ancient times sages went to isolated places, maybe inside dense forests, caves or atop the mountains to meditate. They went far away from the locality because the noise of the people and the bustling activities of daily lives was a cause of distraction. At that time, not many people were there and naturally, the cumulative noise was lesser compared to this time. Think of it, at that time also distraction was there and just think the level of distraction at this age.
What is a distraction? Before detailing the useful tips of avoiding distraction, let's see what actually distraction is. Suppose you are reading a book in your room, the ambience is silent and suddenly someone in the other room starts playing out loudly one of your favourite numbers. You found that music more attractive than the book you are reading and that's why started listening to the music by keeping the book away. Now, since you were concentrating on the book and the music broke your concentration you are distracted. If that music was replaced by noise then also you could have been distracted.
Why you need concentration? You do not like a distraction because you have to concentrate. Now, why concentration is required? Essentially, to complete any task within the stipulated time. While doing a task if you get easily bored or if you find some other tasks more attractive than what you are doing at present then there is a high chance of getting distracted. A few common distractions are an online distraction, distraction by electronic media and distraction by other people. Though distraction is not limited to only these three, there can be various forms and causes of distraction.
The most common cause of distraction these days is an online distraction. You will find many people busy using social media throughout the day. Even between their work, they keep on looking onto the updates of their friends or busy updating their own status. This is quite distracting and can become addictive too. It's a good idea to log out from various social media platforms during the working hours and think of the ways to achieve the target within the stipulated time.
Distraction by electronic media
There are people who want to know what is happening everywhere and they turn on the news channels on television to stay updated. Even while carrying out some important tasks at home, they keep their televisions switched on. There are many who cannot live without watching every episode of a television series. By doing this, their own work gets hampered and the other members of the family may get annoyed. The simple way to stop this is to train your mind to behave in a certain way. You have to understand what is eating up your time and what are the work to be done by you. Thinking and acting on it simultaneously will solve such problems.
Distraction by people
You get annoyed easily. You cannot tolerate if somebody behaves in a way not liked by you. You become too concerned about what others are doing around you so you begin supervising their activities rather concentrating on your work. If you suffer from these things, then you are easily distracted by others around you and cannot concentrate on work if there are people around you. Now think of it seriously in a different way. Everybody is doing their own job and nobody has the time to think about what you are doing or how you are doing a particular task. Rather concentrating on others, concentrate on your own job and finish it as early as possible. Keep yourself busy with work so that you don't have the time to think about what others are doing.
Simple tips to avoid distractionIf you are often distracted by the external forces, then follow the below-mentioned tips to avoid distraction and increase your level of concentration.
1. Find out the causes of distractionIt's important to find out the cause that is distracting you. It may be something within you, i.e. some thoughts that are disturbing you all the time or something external. If it's something external like a loud noise you hear every day outside the work environment or a person who annoys you at your workplace then you need to find an alternative. Even the bunch of files dumped at the corner of your room can be the cause of distraction. After pinpointing the causes, it will be easier to sort out the issues and if you are unable to find a solution yourself, ask some of your friends who are good at concentrating on their work.
2. Be disciplinedYou have to be disciplined. Unless you are setting your own limits, it will be difficult to manage even a simple situation. You have to be strict enough about what you should do and what you should not do. If you are unable to be that strict, make a list of things to do and not to do and follow it on a regular basis. Life can be managed smoothly if you are self-disciplined and your good habits will mostly pass on to the next generation.
3. Break down a large task into smaller partsThe task at your hand may be a small one that can be finished within a couple of hours or it can be big enough that can take months together to complete. The size of the task can make you think in various ways and you can get easily distracted if you begin to think "How can I accomplish such a big task"? For these cases, break down the task into small parts and set smaller goals like finishing a particular part of that task within a specific date. Finish your targets quickly and move on to the next one.
4. Shed the lazinessIf you spend significant time thinking how you will do a job or try to think of starting from tomorrow then probably the job will take an awfully long time to finish or may not be done at all. Don't be so lazy. Just after setting your goals, however small it may be, start working. If your mind becomes lazy, you'll be lethargic and won't be able to carry out the job. That's why you need to shed the laziness and be active immediately to start the work.
5. Take a short breakTo free up the mind, a small break between the working hours is essential. Maybe a few minutes break after every 30 minutes would be a good idea to de-clutter the mind. You must fix the timings of break and work and follow it diligently. Working for long hours is stressful, therefore to keep your concentration on the work, an interval after a specific period is necessary. If the period of break becomes too long then also you won't be able to concentrate fully. Therefore, a short break between the work hours is always beneficial. This short break doesn't mean to spend some time on social media platforms. A stroll around your workplace or a tea break with your colleagues is always a good idea.
6. Meditate on a regular basisYou must have thought of meditating at times. It always helps to relax and regain concentration. Meditation can help you to focus on things and discard the thoughts which are distracting you. Sitting idle for some time by closing your eyes and listening to soothing music may also help you. Give it a try after a hectic schedule. The calmness within you in a meditative state will help you a lot to increase your concentration.
ConclusionThe causes of distraction can be many but you need to find out the causes at the earliest. Unless you find out the cause it will be impossible to find a solution for it. The most important part is you need to understand that you are getting distracted. You will miss the deadline for the project if you get distracted often. So, don't think of it much. Follow the simple and useful tips given here to regain your concentration.
Many people suffer from their nature of getting distracted easily. Distractions are always there in our life. They will come and will go their own ways. We can not stop them. We only get disturbed by them. In my understanding, we are affected more by distractions when we are not deeply involved in our task. If we are deeply engrossed in our work with full concentration, we may not even notice the distraction and the source of distraction. So to a large extent, it is related to our seriousness in the task we are engaged.
During my student life, we were living in a small house and during the holidays there was much hue and cry in the house as many relatives came now and then and a lot of activities went through. So, I thought of going to the park or some secluded place for my studies. I got a very good place which was very peaceful and lonely. So during my preparatory leave, I started to go there. Just after 1-2 days some birds started to come there and made a noise which was somehow not acceptable to me as it distracted me much. So I changed the place and searched another better one where no animal or human soul was visible. Here another problem came. The rivulet flowing nearby made a very disturbing sound as the slope was high and water was falling on some rocks. Finally, I realised that these external things will always remain there and if I would bother for them then I would be the loser. I tried to change my mindset and tried to live with these noises. Today when I am working I do not get distracted so easily.
A good article from the author. Many people suffer from this distraction. These days many people will have their mobile in their hands only. While studying or doing work there will be a beep sound from the same and our concentration will go towards that phone and we will lose our concentration. Like this, there are many reasons for our distraction. This will give rise to mistakes in our work and we can't remember what we were doing then.
One should concentrate on the work they are doing. When we are on some important work we should keep our cell phone away. We should be so concentrated on the work we are doing that we will immerse ourselves in it.
Drona, the Guru of Pandavas and Kauravas wanted to see the expertise of his students. He asked all of them to gather at a place and asked them one by one to shoot a bird on the tree. When they come to shoot the bird he was asking them what they were seeing. Different people answered differently. Someone told the tree branch, someone told the birds on the tree and so on. But only Arjuna told that he is seeing the only bird which he has to shoot. Then Drona made him shoot and he was successful. This is an indication that concentration is the secret of success.
Distraction is the main factor for many who are not able to focus on whatever activity they do, be it study, work or even just reading. Even a small distraction through a beep of mobile phone, doorbell, dog bark, sound from the cooker, washing machine or even fan disturbs us. There are many reasons for getting distracted and the author has presented good tips to avoid distraction.
As a student, much of the distraction caused was due to lack of interest, ongoing matches on TV or mobile which was in the much later stage i.e. during the college days. The tips mentioned are very useful for everyone as this will help them to improve concentration and avoid distractions while studying or even at work.
I would like to add a few more from my personnel experience
i) Good Sleep: When we have not slept or did not get quality sleep, we may feel sleepy and cannot concentrate on anything. Before sitting for studying or work, plan your sleep and do sleep for at least 6 hours. This will keep you energetic and help in concentration.
ii) Listening to music: When I was distracted by external sound, I would prefer listening to soft instrumental music which would help me concentrate than making my mind wander with the external sound or even the sound of TV or people talking. It is more applicable while solving problems or sums or making notes but not while learning other subjects.
iii) Sipping water at regular intervals: This will help you to refresh. It helps one to relax and concentrate.