Driven to Distraction at Work

Coach's Note: Feeling overwhelmed? It's not just you. In this book a medical doctor who specialises in Attention Deficit Disorder tells us why most of us are suffering a level of distracting 'overwhelm' and what to do about it.

The Five Main Reasons We Get Distracted at Work - And their solutions

1. 'Screen Sucking'

The habit of becoming absorbed with something unproductive on a screen at the first feeling of boredom or frustration with the essential stuff you should be doing.

SOLUTION: Replace screen time with human connection where you can, and give yourself pockets of time for them. Otherwise, turn it off.

2. Multi-Tasking

You can end up sacrificing yourself to the small things every day at the expense of your own needs. Like a muscle, your ability to give your full attention can atrophy if not used frequently.

SOLUTION: If you have trouble saying No, try saying: "I would love to do it if I had the time to make it the best it deserves, which I do not."

3. Idea Hopping

Some professionals cannot sustain their focus long enough to turn one of their many ideas into a real world project.

SOLUTION: If you find yourself with long to-do lists left unchecked, try prioritizing just three tasks and moving them forward first.

4. Worrying

Feelings of anxiety often cause people to waste time on attending to something other than what they should be focusing on.

SOLUTION: Sharing your thoughts and worries with others is the best antidote.

5. Playing the Hero

By doing favours to mitigate other peoples' problems, we end up distracted from our own dilemmas. Either you end up multi-tasking and unable to say no, as above, or you end up unable to attend to your own work at all.

SOLUTION: Learn to embrace saying No. You cannot do anyone any good if you cannot even attend to yourself.

Coach's Note: There's a sixth in the book, but I think it's ridiculously self-serving; the author says if despite all this you are still dropping the ball at work, you probably have Attention Deficit Disorder and should seek medical help. Or buy his book for people who have ADHD or ADD. This is such nonsense it makes me question the other five.

Extracts copyright Edward M. Hallowell, MD, arranged for the Hub by Phil Dourado.

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