How To Keep Those Ultra-Distracting Texts From Stealing Your Attention
We've all been there: You wake up, crush your morning routine, and commit to having a totally productive, distraction-free workday. And then, suddenly, your phone buzzes, and those unread text messages begin to steal your attention.
During a mindbodygreen podcast episode with entrepreneur Thatcher Wine, mbg founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob called text messages "the worst" for distractions—and we concur. But Wine has a couple of ideas for how to deal with them.
How to stop getting distracted by texts.
Just because you've decided to fully engage in one task at a time (what Wine likes to call "monotasking") doesn't mean everyone else is going to stop texting you, he says. So, in that instance, you can choose one of two options.
"You could decide to monotask that text and say, 'I'm going to put down what I'm doing and I'm going to engage in that conversation,'" Wine says. "Or you could say 'No, I'm going to keep monotasking this presentation I'm doing for work, and I'm going to respond three hours from now.'"
The key to either scenario is that you're avoiding multitasking, which neurologists say can actually affect cognitive function—and will most likely feel overwhelming. Odds are, if the message is an emergency, a phone call will follow. If it's not, Wine says a good friend should respect your delayed response, be patient with you, and value the fact that you're choosing to give them your full attention later on.
If it's possible to turn off your phone or keep it in a different room during your monotasking, then that's a pretty obvious solution. However, some people need to keep their cells nearby, whether it's to take a call during the day or to play some focus-enhancing music.
If that's the case and the texts keep coming through, decide whether you're going to monotask the conversation or schedule it for another time.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.