Need to Stay Focused? Tune Out Distractions at Work

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Last week, I talked about some ideas for staying productive in open workspaces. For more tips on dealing with the distractions at work and the and disruptions of an open office, check out this article I was interviewed for on Forbes.com.

According to the Forbes article:

Productivity expert Maura Nevel Thomas recommends Focus@Will to tune out distractions at work.

Fight distraction so you can do focused work.

Research from the University of California, Irvine, found that the typical office worker spends only 11 minutes on a task before getting interrupted or abandoning it for another project. And once workflow has been disrupted, it can take about 23 minutes to get back on track, explains professor Gloria Mark, who led the study.

One of the recommendations I discussed to help you control your attention and ignore distractions at work is a streaming music service called [email protected].

You may already have a go-to work playlist, but you might be surprised to learn that your favorite tunes are actually really distracting. They cause you to sing along (encouraging your brain to recall the words), facilitate memories,  and maybe even make you tap your feet—all activities that will prevent flow, your state of optimal performance where you’ll do your best work. Conversely, the music on [email protected] is productivity boosting: each instrumental piece you’ll hear was chosen and remastered to help you concentrate more deeply.

The science behind [email protected] is pretty fascinating. The service was developed in partnership with neuroscientists including Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell. If you’ve read my book or seen me speak, you know that I’m a big fan of Dr. Hallowell’s research on attention. He believes that the constant distractions from our computers and devices dilute our mental powers. (And I agree!) This service is a great tool in your attention management arsenal.

You can see how [email protected] affects your concentration by signing up for a free trial. In addition to individual plans, they also offers business subscriptions. If you’re a leader, making [email protected] available to your staff could be a great way to help them do more focused work.

While you’re listening, be sure to read the full article in Forbes for more productivity-enhancing ideas. Writer Vickie An did a great job of creating a useful and entertaining roundup on preventing distractions at work.

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