Common Distractions

Lyman A. Montgomery July 27, 2017

How to handle 7 common distractions.


Our focus can sometimes be as fragile as a house of cards. Once it falls apart, it’s difficult to get it back. To make it even more difficult, common distractions are inevitable. It can get irritating to keep losing track of what you’re doing because you keep getting distracted.

Below are some of the most common distractions that can cause us to lose our focus. Knowing these helps us to avoid them, or at least manage them the best way we can.



It can be very difficult to concentrate if you’re in a noisy place. Some would even say that they can’t hear themselves think. Although some people prefer to have a little background noise while working, like soft music or white noise, unwanted noise can get pretty distracting.

The easiest way to avoid noise is to use noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs.  You can also save white noise recordings on your music player and listen to them while you work.


Getting Interrupted

Getting interruptions while working is a common distraction, especially when you’re working in an open space. Your co-worker might have questions, a classmate might want to borrow some notes, or someone might ask you to pass a packet of sugar at a coffee shop. Interruptions may be annoying, but we can’t avoid them.

One way to stop people from interrupting you is to send strong signals that you don’t want to be bothered. Try to make a barrier between you and other people, look busy, work in a secluded corner, or keep a good distance from others.


Doing More Than One Thing at a Time

People often say that multitasking is a great way to get things done more efficiently, but it actually has the opposite effect. When you multitask, you divide your focus between a number of things, which can get very distracting. You’re also prone to make mistakes, which can delay you.

Instead of multitasking, concentrate on one task at a time. You’ll work better and even become more efficient.


Physiological Needs

There’s a reason why Maslow placed this on the base of the hierarchy of needs. Feeling sleepy, hungry, thirsty, or wanting to use the bathroom can distract you from work. When it comes to performance, your physiological needs can determine how well you can finish a task.

Take care of all your bodily needs first. Eat, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and don’t forget to take bio breaks.



When your workspace is a mess, it can be difficult to get things done. Your mind reacts to its environment, so a disorganized table or workspace will result to a disorganized mind.

Keep your workspace organized. This also helps you save time since you know exactly where to look when you need something. If you don’t know where to start, try looking up organizing method, like the KonMari method, to help you organize your space.


Anxiety and Stress

The most common mental illnesses in the United States today are anxiety disorders, affecting around 40 million adults. Anxiety is often caused by prolonged stress. Although a certain amount of good stress is beneficial for us, too much of it can become a big problem.

Learn how to manage your anxiety and stress. Take a break, breathe, and relax a little. This isn’t slacking off. It’s important that you let your mind rest so you can stay on track.



Your phone, tab, music player, even your computer, can become a distraction. You might end up procrastinating instead of concentrating on your task.

Put them away. Facebook can wait. Listen to music later. Play that game where you have the time.


What other distractions do you struggle with? Leave a comment below. To know more about focus, grab a copy of my book and follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.



Snack Nation. 2016. “Here Are 13 Workplace Distractions Robbing You of Productivity (And How to Fix Them).” Accessed on June 9, 2017.

ThoughtCo. 2017. “Top 5 External Study Distractions.” Accessed on June 9, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *