Being able to multitask is a skill many people are proud to possess.
In a world where it's common for people to have smartphones, smartwatches, tablets and laptops on them at any given time, digital tools and other technological conveniences also serve as huge distractions.
"Staying connected is now remarkably easy," said New York Times best-selling author Tom Rath. "As a result, getting anything of substance done is not."
Rath, author of "Are You Fully Charged?," reported that people unlock their cellphones an average of 110 times per day. He also said that workers sitting in front of a computer screen are interrupted at least once every three minutes, and they forfeit some 28 percent of each day to distractions. What's more, his findings support the claim that only 1 in 5 people have the ability to focus on one thing at a time at work.
So how can we make sure we control our devices rather than allowing our devices to control us?
Huffington Post suggests the following:
- Finish the most important item on your to-do list in the morning – even before logging onto devices and checking email, social media and other messages.
- Turn off alerts and notifications while you're trying to focus.
- Set specific times to check social media, email and phone calls.
- Only use your phone when you're alone. Don't occupy yourself with it when you're in the presence of friends, family and other important people. Give them your full attention. Be present.
- Shut off all devices at least one hour before you go to sleep. Checking email and messages and stimulating your brain before bed can result in insomnia. Consider meditating or reading a book as ways to wind down and give your mind a break.
- Consider ditching your mobile device for at least one full day during the weekend.
Employing some tactics to allow yourself to focus on one task at a time is extremely beneficial. In a fast-paced world where it's easy to feel left out or left behind, cutting out distractions is an effective way to stand out.
"Mindfulness - doing one thing at a time and paying attention while doing it -- is a powerful antidote to the barrage of distractions that come at us day and night," said Dr. Mike Chow, psychotherapist and author of "The Brain-Fog Fix."