Social Question

Jude's avatar

Are you easily distracted? If so, how do you deal?

Asked by Jude (32098points) March 24th, 2010

I’ve been terrible, lately. When I’m home, I have a ton that needs to be done and every, oh, 10/15 minutes, I come back to my comp and Fluther/browse the internetz.

I need help.

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34 Answers

fyoz's avatar

What? I was distracted by something….

fyoz's avatar

Honestly though, it’s best to turn off the computer. Or set up a timer that only allows you to stay on for so long and won’t turn back on until a certain amount of time has past.

After a few weeks of that, it’ll probably become habit and the need to hop back on to the computer should pass.

erichw1504's avatar

Yes, I am extremely distracted by the internet. I feel like there is always something to do or look at or read or whatever. So, I find it best to set time frames for things that need to get done around the house, homework, and my job. Once I complete something, I give myself free time to browse the web.

jazmina88's avatar

lists work awesome and reward yourself with jobs completed by a few minutes of browsing.

J0E's avatar

Oh my god yes, I’m like a kid and the world is my candy store.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. I have a microsopically short attention span.

Just_Justine's avatar

I have found the best way to handle things is to do all the things I need to do, then only then I can sit at the computer. As a reward so to speak.

tinyfaery's avatar

Yes, I too suffer from SMS—Scared of Missing Something. I heard that on the L Word when we were chatting on Friday. I am beginning to think that instead of trying to change who I seem to be (a procrastinator, easily distracted), I will just learn to deal with it. If things don’t get done because I am doing something else, oh well. I guess it wasn’t that important to me anyway.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Lists are very helpful.So I’ve heard :)

erichw1504's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Lists are only helpful if used.So I’ve heard.

Jude's avatar

List has been made (we’ll see how that goes). Now, all that I want to do is Fluther from bed. Alas, I must work..

@tinyfaery platonic canoodling? Up for it?

erichw1504's avatar

I don’t think I’m very easily dist… SQUIRREL!!!…............................ now, what were we talking about?

Milk's avatar

I get distracted soooo easily.Usually I just go with the flow~
If stuff doesn’t get done…tough cookies…
But really I just write what I have to do on post-it notes and put then on my computer screen. That way when I run to the interwebs I see the post it note and go back to what I was doing.

partyparty's avatar

No I’m not easily distracted.
What I absolutely hate is to BE distracted when I am concentrating on something.

bellusfemina's avatar

I get distracted during meetings at work, which can really be a horrible thing if your boss decides to ask you a question in front of everyone. I came up with quite an ingenious way to deal with this problem….Here is an example:

Boss: “So what do you think about blah blah blah?”
Me: “Well that all depends”

This will usually buy me a few seconds. Hopefully the question ends there! Usually, it does, or someone else will answer.

janbb's avatar

I got no answers (as you could probably tell from all my PMs from work today @jjmah) but I am interested in the answers. I did read somewhere that there is a program that locks you out of your computer for a period of time; I am seriously thinking of looking for that.

phillis's avatar

It’s easier for me, even if it’s a little harsher than I would like, to call things as they really are. I’ve had this same problem before, too, on another social website. For me, it isn’t that I was easily distracted. It’s that I was being irresponsible. I can live with being easily distracted, no problem! Being irresponsible kinda sucks, though :(

Jude's avatar

Heading home in 10 min. The plan is to go power biking. If I do a bit of exercise, I have an easier time focusing on tasks afterward.

janbb's avatar

And I’m about to go out for a long walk which should clear my brain. (Maybe I will be able to eat cream eggs tonight!)

noyesa's avatar

I have an extremely bad case of attention deficit disorder, bad to the point where it’s debilitating if I haven’t had my medication. I’ve literally had people sit me down and ask me if I was high/drunk/schizophrenic and for a while I was in “slow learner” classes in middle school. I was diagnosed in college, and I’ve been carrying a 4.0 GPA in the honors college at one of the toughest public colleges in the country since.

I managed to somewhat competently cope with this for eight years, so I think these are pretty good ways to stay focused.

Firstly, at work I set my e-mail to only send/receive every 30–45 minutes. Multi-tasking, mental disorder or not, is a myth. It does not exist, it only appears to exist. Your mind works best when it’s focused and this is the only way to enter a state of flow. Any distractions that you allow yourself to be sucked into consume more of your time than you know, since it takes your head out of the train of thought you were on and you immediately drop a lot of short term memory. It might take 5 minutes to answer an e-mail, but after all is said and done you’ve probably lost 20 minutes of productivity. This is a universal suggestion, too. It doesn’t just apply to e-mail. Distractions are huge time wasters, and surprisingly many of them are within your control. When people jump into my office that’s one thing. Before I had medication, I had to literally unplug my phone and let the voicemail get it and shut my e-mail client off, and that reduced 90% of my distractions. Manage your attention with a vengeance.

If you work with your computer much, make use of software. There’s a program for Mac OS X called Apimac Timer that I use, for example, and it’s basically just an alarm clock. If I need to remember something, and annoying message in the middle of the screen plus a dumb sound is a really good way to do it. Also, there’s a great to-do list called Things for OS X, which works wonders, and I also use Tudumo when on Windows. A simple GTD to-do list can be remarkably helpful.

You have to discipline yourself to respect your own rules though. At first, I didn’t think any of these things were the least bit helpful since it was that easy for me to just ignore them and go back to doing whatever it was I was already doing. You have to force yourself using the simplest possible way: just do it. It sounds simple enough (why didn’t I think of that?!) but when you’re being slapped in the face by your own timer and you’re thinking about “5 more minutes” or “tomorrow” that kind of thing—no. Don’t. Just do it. It seems like the simplest thing in the world, but sometimes it can be the hardest.

I use this desktop background when I’m at work, which has proven surprisingly helpful.

There’s no foolproof method. If you want to focus, you can help yourself, but you have to be willing to work against your wants. If you want to focus, these are the kinds of things that can help. It can be frustrating, but it’s manageable.

Jude's avatar

Oh, hi, it’s me again. I’m back.


thriftymaid's avatar

I’m sort of having the same problem. It’s out of character for me. I have a lot to do and am preoccupied. I know the problem but haven’t resolved it yet. I will.

jerv's avatar

Considering the overlap in symptoms between ADD/ADHD and Aspergers, it’s no surprise that I am quite distractible… unless I am hyper-focussed to the point where I literally don’t notice anything going on around me except what I am working on.

Caffeine and nicotine help a little bit, though I might be better off with a prescription stimulant like Ritalin. However, my main coping mechanism is a wife who isn’t afraid to tug my leash and yank me back on task :P

noyesa's avatar

@jerv The funny thing is that I’ve run into a number of people who doubted ADD’s existence simply because there are some things which allow people who suffer from it to focus. Mine was wikipedia. There are certain subjects on which I have near encyclopedic knowledge, simply because I’m able to focus on them. Population statistics in the United States for example, is something that is almost “soothing” to my condition. I later found that computer science was another one of them, where I can excel beyond all belief simply because it takes well to my personality. Other things, however, I have a mental handicap.

Amazing how much a better-half helps, eh?

jerv's avatar

@noyesa Yeah, my wife has a hard time understanding it herself.
But there is a difference between focus and FOCUS. For instance, when she is focused on something and I say her name, she will notice and shift her attention; the reverse is often not true. She is unable to understand how anyone can focus that much.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most of the time, no, especially when dealing with interesting and challenging tasks. It’s possible to learn techniques that lead to a state called

( please add extra ”)” )

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne For me, that requires a steady Pepsi supply. If the caffeine flows, so do I.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – Yes. I drink liters of black and green tea. It’s both the caffeine and plenty of water!

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Green tea, bleh! I tried the black tea to wean myself off of the sugar water, but it took so much that I spent more time drinking and then ridding myself of excess liquid than I did working.Not bad for at home (where I tend to drink less anyways) but I think I’d need at least a month to detox before I could go that route during my workday. Thanks anyways for the advice though :)

neverawake's avatar

by giving in to my distracter.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv -I add a little milk. Tastes much better this way.

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