View Full Version : Dealing with distractions

22nd Apr 2004, 13:02
Right, you lot. There has been some indication of late that one or two of ya are right intelligent so and so's, and I need your help.

I have a problem with concentration and distractions. I find this at home and at work, where I leave things to the very last minute then panic and get things done just in time or late but am able to explain/get away with it.

Almost anything can distract me (including Pprune of course!), and I need to find somewhere of training my daft brain to concentrate on a task until it is completed.

One of the biggest issues is starting many things and finishing none until the deadline looms. Got to be a way of dealing with this but I haven't a clue.

Need to do something about this cos I am way behind with college assignments at the moment (part-time evening course thing) and it is impacting on my work, which is why I want to sort it out.

So, any suggestions would be appreciated.

(Mods - Feel free to move this to Margeland if you think that's the best place for it)

22nd Apr 2004, 13:04
Sorry Rugz.. lost interest after the first paragraph..

Seriously.. have you tried prioritising? I write things down at work in list form, and balance urgency with importance, then choose a pecking order. I then try to stick to that without fail or distraction.. not always possible in the real world, I know.
Might be worth a try. Best of luck.

22nd Apr 2004, 13:16
I had the same problem when I was at college (got a very active imagination ya'see:} ) and I found it a real pain in the ass when it came to exam time. So what I did was made a timetable ie. study 2 hours in the morning, go to work, come back watch TV for an hour, study for another 2 hours, take an hour to surf the net or do anything else needing done and I found this worked really well. Split the day up into blocks and set aside time for everything and make yourself up a timetable to stick to.

22nd Apr 2004, 13:17
I use a list in notepad, low priority at the bottom, things I am waiting on other people for in the middle and the high priority that I can get on with at the top

22nd Apr 2004, 13:33
It depends on the type of person you are. If you hate lists and timetables, and find them impossible to stick to, don't bother. All that will happen is you'll feel guilty about not following them and that will make everything worse. That's what I'm like.

For me, the best way to work is to do it in small chunks. I won't say "I must do 2 hours work" because that seems like forever. If I only do 30 minutes before having a break then so what? 30 minutes is better than nothing. What usually happens is 30 minutes passes so quickly it ends up being several hours before you get restless.

It's never easy to get into work, but just make a start. Do a little bit at a time and you'll soon find it's making a difference.

Good luck! :ok:

22nd Apr 2004, 14:11
Err...distraction - don't log into PPrune!

It's too addictive :E :{

Seriously - start prioritizing - ask someone else to go things through with you they may help you see things more clearly.

Try and concentrate on just one thing at a time. The others will still be there when you've finished it - believe me it's OK they won't just go away.

How do I know this - 'cos Mrs DM is on at me all the time for leaving things til the last minute.

I don't procrastinate at all. I'm saving that until tomorrow! :E

22nd Apr 2004, 14:30
Perhaps I missed off the most important factor that I feel is affecting the way I handle tasks in life...motivation.

There is always something more important or, more interesting to do, than the task that I am working on and that's the biggest distraction of all.

Someone I know has suggested finding a buddist centre and learning meditation as a method of focusing the mind - anyone have any experience of this?

On the matter of Pprune, I have seriously cut down the amount of time that I spend on here and have banned myself from chat for the foreseeable future. :(

22nd Apr 2004, 15:06
I find the easiest way is to........

sorry, what was that again?

22nd Apr 2004, 19:00

I had the same problem as you when I first started University (not particularly useful when you have seven years ahead of you before you qualify!)

Any who, I found myself a buddy to study with - it worked really well - he was also a serious non-starter - but we helped each other through - it became routine & if you didn't perform you were not only letting yourself down but your mate as well.

I personally found it really useful - we only needed to do this in first year as it taught us how to study in a structured and productive manner (the competition in exams etc always added a bit of spice too)

Since that first year I never dropped below 75% on a test, so something must have worked!

Some things to consider:

Are you sure you are on the right course?
Keep your dope for the weekend....
Try to enjoy what you're studying - otherwise it'll be work
Reward yourself when you get through a particularly arduous task.
Don't forget to live your life!

Best of luck,


26th Apr 2004, 23:22
I suffer from the same problem. Timing how long it takes for the kettle to boil with varying amounts of water, just checking the football scores and sorting CDs into alphabetical order can all assume an aura of immense fascination and importance when compared to whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing. I end up looking like the fat fifth Beatle on a regular basis because I find so many other things to do instead of having my hair cut. Strangely, I'm more disciplined at work - but there, my structured and planned 'to do' list is frequently thrown into disarray by having to react to events.

This inability to focus was a key factor in dropping out of university. The other factor was approaching bankruptcy - the two kinda fed each other.

Do you believe that a person can change their character fundamentally? If so, sign up for therapy/life coaching/buddism/TM/whatever. Else, accept that you're never going to be able to give crappy things that don't interest you your undivided attention and try to plan your future career around that. In IT terms ('cos that is my chosen field) it means techie roles that have something of a random, let's fix it element, rather than the more plodding, laborious programming side of things.

26th Apr 2004, 23:27
The problem with making lists, is that if I make one, then I get back on pprune and forget the time and then where I put the pesky list!:ugh:

27th Apr 2004, 00:13
Rugz, were we married at one time.....???

27th Apr 2004, 00:14
Personally I hate to make a list, but I personally have found if there is something I really need to do, I write it on an A4 piece of paper as big as I can and pin it to the front of the fridge. For some reason, when I'm wasting time, I always seem to grivitate to the kitchen past the sign...........I guess it stimulates a guilt response or something.

27th Apr 2004, 23:20
Years ago I went into my local bookshop and asked the lady for the Self-Help section. She said "That would be defeating the point wouldn't it?" So anyway, eventually I found it, and there was this book called "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684815311/)" which I found very useful.

28th Apr 2004, 09:57


There is always something more important or, more interesting to do, than the task that I am working on and that's the biggest distraction of all.

Find the time of day (or night) which has the least distractions.

Personally found whilst at university that working in the early hours of the morning proved most productive due to:

a) Pubs not open (well most of them)
b) Most other people asleep
c) No television (this was a LONG time ago!)
d) Dark outside, nothing to look at

28th Apr 2004, 10:29
Motivation can be difficult at times when it comes to academics (especially when the topics in question are very dry). What helped me get through my very dull degree was sitting down and answering a few questions and along the lines of;

Why am I doing this?
How will I feel in 5 years time if I give up now?
How will I feel in 5 years time if I get a good result?
What doors will be open to me if I get a good degree result?
What doors will be shut to me if I get a bad degree result?

(you start to get the idea).

In a nutshell, this allowed remain focused when studying as I personally knew I would feel like a total t!t if I @rsed up my degree due to lack of self discipline. I kept on saying to myself that on my result certificate it just gives the result, there is no extra room for excuses on it ("could have attained this grade but..."). I also remember thinking that if I get through to the end of the course, this qualification can never be taken away from me.

Just for the record I didnt lock myself away in my room at uni hell bent on getting top marks, I set myself the goal of getting a grade that reflected well on myself but also allowed me to have lots of outside interests and spend far too much money on alcohol. Happy Days!

I hope this is of some help.

High Wing Drifter
28th Apr 2004, 10:42

I know this may sound like a long shot, but if you are a heavy tea drinker try cutting down (maybe coffee too, but I wouldn't know). It has, in the last few months, made quite a noticable difference to my sleep patterns and subsequently my motivation and ability to apply myself more fully to less than intweresting tasks.

The idea came to me after studying Human Factors for my ATPL.