How easily distracted are you?

How long can you go without looking at your phone? Answer honestly.

If you are doing a big project in work or at home, how many times will you check your phone? It might just be for a second to see if new emails or WhatsApp messages have come in. We all do it and it is an issue. You see it everywhere, people in the gym constantly looking at their phones, people at conferences checking emails while someone is speaking (nowadays, conference organisers encourage people to send tweets with the hashtag while the conference is going on?!), people tweeting about tv programmes while the programme is on instead of actually watching it.

I use DataPoints as part of my financial planning process and one of the areas looked at is Focus. According to DataPoints owner and author of The Next Millionaire Next Door, Sarah Fallaw Ph.D, an inability to focus has an impact on our ability to build wealth. Those that are effective at building wealth over time are able to meet goals through a disciplined approach that effectively manages distractions.


What can we do to improve our focus? Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore gave some solutions in the Harvard Business Review :

  • Apply the brakes – When you become distracted from a task, stop what you are doing and either address the issue or let it go. Breathe deeply and consider your options and with thought, choose your options, carry on with what you are doing or stop it and go with the new task.
  • Shift sets – Take a break between tasks. We can’t work continuously from one task to another without losing focus at some stage. So be in control of it. When you finish a task, take 5 minutes out to go for a walk or have a stretch. Don’t use the time to check email or social media.

You can also turn off all the notifications on your phone. The screen lighting up with a new message gives you a dopamine rush. There’s a reward awaiting you if you swipe your phone. Just take that temptation out of the way.

If you find yourself easily distracted, see how many tasks you can go completely focused on it, without distraction.

Tell me how easily distracted you are? Do you find yourself checking your phone 50 times a day? You can contact me at