Driven to Distraction

In the past ten minutes I’m betting you have received at least two Facebook notifications, three emails, and a silly game you play on your phone probably pinged to remind you it exists. No wonder it’s hard for people to devote one hundred percent of their attention on a single task anymore. We can no longer just turn ourselves off to outside distractions because there is way too much of it. We grew up being told about the importance of multitasking, but the things that are consuming our time are, more often than not, nonsense and that nonsense is multiplying.

At Above Benchmark we usually work from our home offices, with regular in-office meetings. Whilst the benefits of working remotely are well documented, and we discussed those in our article, Why Working Remotely Works, it is easy to become distracted. Our Mystery Shoppers are also independent workers who have to focus on their tasks or else vital information will be lost. So here are some tips we’ve found that will help you stay focused:


Give Yourself Deadlines:

List everything you need to accomplish in the day and determine how much time each task will take. Then do one task to the allowed time. Everyone works better when racing to a deadline.


When writing your To Do list ensure the most important task of your day is first on the list. That way, if there is an unavoidable interruption you have completed the urgent task and seeing that tick feels good.

Do not disturb:

If you have a smart phone (and chances are you do if you’re finding you’re easily distracted) it can be set to “do not disturb” mode. A lot of people are abandoning their landline in favour of a mobile phone, so to switch off completely is not viable. You can still see known numbers coming through on DND, so you won’t miss anything important.

Schedule Time:

Work out when you’re most likely to be able to focus without interruption from your kids, dog, friends, partner. That might be when everyone’s out or even 4am, if that’s what works for you.  


Set a Personal and Business Login:

If you find it difficult to avoid clicking on your favourite bookmarks when you should be concentrating on something else, have a designated distraction-free login. We find Chrome works best with that. You can easily switch between users.

Wrist Flicker:

We’re sure there is a more scientific name for wearing a band on your wrist that you flick every time you need to snap out of it. Elastic Deterrent perhaps? Some people use it to help control their anxiety. An easily distracted person may use it to stay focused every time they feel their attention wandering.

Take a break:

Usually the pull towards nonsense is just your mind and/or body saying you need a break, so actually take a break. Get up and walk around, have a look outside, don’t just switch from one screen to another. This will give you a much needed rest, but you won’t get trapped scrolling for half an hour.

Be accountable:

Have a jar on your desk and pop a dollar in it every time you feel your attention wavering. However, the jar goes to charity, not you. We’re not enabling your procrastination by helping you save for the leather jacket you want.

Be OK with missing out on something:

If you don’t read something the moment it’s posted, that’s fine. If you don’t answer an email the moment you receive it, that’s fine too. You don’t need to know what’s going on with everyone all the time. We didn’t instantly know twenty years ago when Sally’s kid said something funny and we were all fine with that.

Share Your Work Hours:

Let family and friends know your work hours so they will be less likely to interrupt you with texts, calls, or dropping in.


There’s always going to be distractions, but we can minimise them by disabling notifications, setting boundaries with ourselves and others, and being accountable. Allow yourself to focus and the work will get done faster than you could have imagined. Wait, are you supposed to be working right now?  


Take Action.

At Above Benchmark, we’re passionate about helping our clients deliver exceptional service to improve customer loyalty and increase sales. We believe every business needs a customer service benchmark, so employees know what to work towards.

If you’d like to have more loyal customers and increased sales contact us today for a complimentary 30 minute Customer Service Strategy Session.

Simply call 1300 400 716 and let us help you achieve above your benchmark.