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Blog > 4 Ways Executives Can Reduce Digital Distractions

4 Ways Executives Can Reduce Digital Distractions

Reclaim your focus
Woman looking sitting in front of her laptop looking at her mobile device

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As technology use has expanded, attention spans have declined. Research examining the computer usage patterns of working adults revealed that in 2004, individuals could concentrate on a single task for roughly 2.5 minutes before shifting their focus. Today, that span has dwindled to less than 60 seconds.

Moreover, when technology serves as a distraction, people typically spend about 47 seconds engaged with the new stimulus before becoming sidetracked again. The process of refocusing on the initial task can take a staggering 25 minutes post-interruption.

Such frequent digital disruptions are known to ruin productivity and heighten stress, a situation all too common, particularly among busy professionals. Additionally, excessive screen time in adults has also been associated with a range of health issues, including mental health challenges, disrupted sleep patterns, and vision problems.

While it’s impractical to forgo the digital realm entirely, you can take measures to reclaim your focus and enhance productivity. Here are four strategies to combat digital distractions.

1. Set Screen Boundaries

First things first, it’s time to set some boundaries on your screentime. Experts suggest you spend at least three to four hours of your day without using any screens whatsoever and limit social media use to 30 to 60 minutes per day. If you’d like to get better sleep, stop using screens at least an hour before bed.

To minimize distractions and multitasking, consider designating specific times throughout your day for checking emails or social media. Maybe you only check emails at the beginning, middle, and end of your workday, and only check social media for 30 minutes or so in the evening.

Additionally, consider setting specific times for tech breaks so you can get in the recommended three to four hours a day without using screens—like after work when you’re exercising, making dinner, and spending time with loved ones.

You can also limit where you use tech by not bringing it into the bedroom or dining room.

2. Use Technology Mindfully

When you decide to use tech, be mindful of how you do so. Do you need those immediate notifications? Or can you check in on certain platforms as you need/want to? Can you limit your phone’s screen time or certain apps you know aren’t helpful to your productivity and mental health (like social media apps)?

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3. Focus on Single Tasks

Multitasking can wreak havoc on your productivity and mental health (but a digital detox can remedy these issues!). As such, practice mindfulness and being present for just the task you’re working on.

Close all tabs and apps you don’t need for your current task. Use full-screen mode to avoid distractions and set aside blocks of time to focus on one thing.

4. Take Regular Digital Detox Breaks

Lastly, consider taking regular, all-encompassing digital detox breaks. How much time and energy would you regain if you simply stopped using Instagram entirely for a week? Would you lower your stress if you didn’t look at your email at all for an entire weekend?

As you remove some of these digital distractions from your life, replace them with something healthy and beneficial, such as spending time outdoors, practicing yoga, hiking, or engaging in other physical activities.

How to Begin a Digital Detox Plan Today

Ready to start a digital detox? Begin by defining clear objectives and parameters for your detox. You may want to start slowly rather than making too big of a change all at once. For example, focus on implementing one of the four strategies above and then build on your progress.

For more accountability, partner up with a peer who also wants to reduce digital distractions and hold one another accountable, or work with a coach for professional support.

The Bottom Line

Doing a digital detox or simply taking small steps to reduce digital distractions can help executives regain greater focus, improve mental and physical health, and be better, more present leaders overall.

Do you need more help managing your time and reducing distractions? Schedule a complimentary call with an Arootah Executive Coach to learn how we can support you.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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