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The Distraction Epidemic in the Workplace: Why CEOs Should Prioritise Focus


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What is a high-focus state, and how does it happen? A high-focus state is a state of mind that enables you to concentrate on a task without losing your train of thought. Getting into this state of mind takes an average of 20 minutes, according to a study by the University of California-Irvine. The study found that when people are focused on a task, their brainwaves shift into a higher frequency, indicating high levels of attention. In other words, focusing on a task for about 20 minutes is essential to reach that high-focus state.

However, research indicates that we get interrupted every 11 minutes, thus breaking the 20 minutes of focus we need. Interruptions can come in different forms, such as notifications from our phones, colleagues’ questions, or emails. These interruptions take us away from the task at hand, making it harder to stay focused. Hence, it is essential to eliminate any distractions or work in an environment where few interruptions might occur.

Distractions in the workplace are a significant issue, particularly for people who work in front of a computer. Recent studies suggest that we get distracted every 40 seconds when we work in front of a computer; that’s about 50-60 times per hour. Some of these distractions are external, such as social media notifications, while others are self-imposed, such as constantly checking emails. To boost productivity, it is essential to identify and eliminate any distractions that are within your control.

One way to eliminate distractions is to use the Pomodoro technique. This technique entails working in 25-minute durations, followed by a five-minute break. After four Pomodoro sets, take a more extended break of 15-20 minutes. This technique is effective because it provides a sense of urgency within a specific time frame, letting you be present throughout that 25-minute time frame.

Other distractions come from within, such as overthinking or multitasking. Multitasking is a common trait among many people, yet it is highly inadvisable. It leads to a cycle of constantly switching between tasks, making it hard to complete any of them effectively. It’s essential to identify the tasks that require high levels of attention and avoid multitasking at all costs.

A high-focus state is essential for achieving your daily goals, but it takes effort and hard work to maintain it. As a CEO, it’s crucial to limit any internal or external distractions that may affect your cognitive ability. The Pomodoro technique is an excellent way to stay focused while avoiding any external distractions. Moreover, it’s essential to prioritise the tasks that require higher levels of attention and avoid multitasking. This way, you will maintain a high-focus state, allowing you to work more efficiently and productively.