Systems for Success: Removing Distractions

If it isn’t major obstacles or internal mindset that’s stopping you then it’s just these little pesky things: distractions.

Of course, distractions can affect us whatever we are doing so whether you are or aren’t setting goals for next year, I’m sure some of the following tips can be put to use.

7 Tips for Removing Distractions

1. Turn off email notifications.

Email is like the person at work who can’t or won’t be quiet for 5 minutes. At least it can be if you let it but remember that it won’t forget what it wanted to tell you if you put it off for an hour.

Instead, block out time in your calendar to review your emails when you are ready to. If anything needs more time to be worked on then, yes, you guessed it, schedule in time for that one specific task.

2. Put your phone / Teams / Skype on do not disturb.

If you want to spend some time focusing on a specific task then preventing others from contacting you is the way to go. You can often set a time limit on these options too, which means that they will automatically turn off and you will receive any messages you have missed. Alternatively, you could “forget” to turn it back on…

3. Keep a notebook to hand.

For all those ideas that pop up when you’re in the middle of something, it’s good to have somewhere to write them down so that you can return to them later. By writing it down, the fact you need to buy toothpaste, pay a bill and make a doctors appointment won’t stop you from the current task but also won’t be forgotten.

4. Do the tough stuff at your most productive time of the day.

It’s fair to say that there are certain times of the day when we will feel the most susceptible to distractions. For me, it’s possibly around 11 am and then again at 3 pm. As a result, I’m more likely to stay focused at other times of the day, such as first thing in the morning and immediately after lunch.

Consequently, those distraction times are when I will deal with email or take a break.

5. Update your internet homepage to be “neutral”.

This is something that has caught me out on several occasions – the news. If, when you open up your internet browser, the first thing you see is news, it’s an easy distraction to catch your eye. You didn’t go there for that, did you? No, you went there for a specific reason and now you’ve spent 15 minutes reading mildly interesting but usually useless news.

If you’re looking for a way out, Microsoft edge allows you to update your settings to be either focused (very minimal) or inspirational (an image of the day) rather than the default of informational. There is still the option to scroll down to the news if you did go there for that. Using Google Chrome? The default is distraction-free.

6. Keep a bottle of water in your workspace.

How many times have you decided you really must have a cup of tea, or get a snack before you start something? I’ve done it loads – and having some water on my desk has helped me get over it. Thirst is just another distraction that you don’t need.

7. Remove distracting apps from your phone.

If you are prone to playing games, scrolling social media or shopping the minute you pick up your phone to use it as an actual phone, then try removing them. At the very least hide them on the last home screen page and always exit them before shutting off your phone.


Determine what distractions you are most likely to fall prey to and come up with a plan to remove them.

What times of the day are you most likely to be prone to distraction? Can you work your schedule around this so that you can make use of those productive times?


A little bit of extra motivation.

What is your biggest distraction? How do you prevent it from having an impact on your day? Share in the comments below – we all need those tips!

Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.

Best wishes,

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