Learning Fundamentals: How to focus in the age of distraction

How to focus in the age of distraction

So many of us are connected and/or using our connected devices regularly. Some might say we / you are addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms when we forget them or leave home home without them.

So then, how do we stay focused in this “age of distraction”? Jane Genovese writes on the Learning Fundamentals website on ‘how to focus in the age of distraction‘ and produced this excellent mind-map of Leo Babauta’s eBook Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction”.

Genovese highlights her analysis of the book and the changes she’s making to sharpen her focus, including: 

  • Create habits and/or rituals to focus your mind.
  • Manage email (expectations) and switch it off if necessary.
  • Make time to reflect & review.
  • Admit you’re online too much, and take steps to remedy.
  • Digital detox: take time away and switch off.
  • Work ethics (simplify working practices based on distractions, movement, time, etc.)

If this is what we (should) do to help us focus at work, what about learners, both classroom and online / distant learners? What should they do to help themselves, to make the best environment possible to aid their learning? Another question we could ask is whether we are doing enough to help them prepare these spaces, do we offer any guidance on how or why this is important?

In order to manage my work what do am I doing (or will start doing) to manage my distractions? Well:

  • Cover my phone and table so I can’t see the notifications pop up and scream “I’m here!” at me.
  • Close Twitter and Google+ so it doesn’t distract me with ‘updates’ or ‘new post’ messages.
  • Close Outlook so I’m not distracted by new mail alerts.
  • Take regular breaks from my desk (even if it’s only to climb the stairs and go back to my desk).
  • Blog – this is my reflection and review, where I write (and sometimes delete).
  • Read – take time to read either journals, blogs, books, Kindle books. Some reading is work related, some not. It depends on what I’ve got to hand and what mood I’m in.
  • Switch off: for too long I’ve had the TV on at home in an evening whilst reading, writing, blogging, tweeting, etc. I now quite like the quiet, but still miss ‘some’ noise so have moved the stereo so I can have the iPod plugged in and keeping my company in the evening (once the kids are in bed and I can switch CBeebies off!).

What about you, how do you manage your time and keep yourself from being distracted.

Learning Fundamentals: How to focus in the age of distraction
How to focus in the age of distraction (click to enlarge)