Are you distracted or clueless? 10 tips to improve it

Sometimes, being easily distracted or absent-minded is directly related to too much multitasking. We often try to do multiple tasks simultaneously without really connecting with any of them. Learn tips to help here.
Are you distracted or clueless? 10 tips to improve it
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 08 April, 2023

Who hasn’t spent several minutes looking for something to take outside and, after several unsuccessful attempts, realized that you were already carrying it? If you tell someone about it, they may accuse you of being distracted or absent-minded.

When similar things happen to you several times a day, it’s possible to apply some strategies. In this article, you’ll find recommendations for reducing distractions and thinking about what might be happening to you.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: Memory Loss and Forgetfulness: Are They Normal?

1. Start with what’s important

Before you start your day, you can make a list of the tasks ahead of you and assign a priority to them. This way, not only do you have an overview of your day, but as you move forward or accomplish goals, you move on to what’s next.

Get organized with an agenda
If you’re absent-minded or forgetful, planners are a great option to always have on hand.

2. Find a way to remind yourself of things

For example, if you don’t want to forget your lunch in the fridge, you can leave a note on the door before you leave for work. Cell phone reminders are also helpful.

3. Know your time and learn how to manage it

Many times, distraction comes from lack of organization. For this reason, it’s good that you can plan your activities.

There are different tools that allow you to know how much time you dedicate to a certain task or project. Most of them are technological and are available for computers or smartphones.

4. Try to keep your attention focused and present

This may be difficult, but if you are also checking your WhatsApp notifications while you’re having a conversation with someone, you may miss important details of the conversation.

So try to be present, here and now, and focus on what is happening. Exercise your boundaries with the amount of tasks and activities you want to complete simultaneously.

5. Ask yourself about those things you tend to forget

In what areas do you usually forget? Are you always absent-minded or forgetting, or only when it comes to certain places?

For example, you may forget to take certain everyday objects with you (glasses, a coat, or keys). Or perhaps you tend to forget commitments and meetings. Sometimes, when you think about it, you end up realizing that it’s not simply a distraction, but that you simply don’t like participating in meetings.

Then, forgetfulness may work as a strategy or an excuse.

6. Try to maintain order

This recommendation goes hand in hand with the previous point. If you forget objects, assign fixed places to leave them. This way, it will be easier for you to get into the habit.

You can also try assigning a number of tasks to accomplish before leaving home. Let’s say three: get the food, carry your coat, and check your glasses. Until you count three, you shouldn’t go out.

On the other hand, if what you forget to do has to do with meetings, you can use alarms or a planner to help your memory. You can also use a weekly or monthly planner and place it in a visible place, such as the refrigerator door.

7. Choose a place that’s free of distractions

If concentration isn’t your strong point, try to work or study in an environment free of visual and auditory stimuli. In your home, avoid those places that are transit points, i.e., where many people circulate constantly.

8. Finish and limit tasks

It’s important that we try to focus on a task and commit to a start and end time, even if it’s short. When this happens, at the end of the day we often have the perception that we didn’t get anything done or that we didn’t make progress because we couldn’t finish or bring closure to certain issues.

9. Create moments for leisure and rest

Distraction also appears after demanding periods. The brain needs an escape valve, a respite. Therefore, it’s necessary to find a balance between work and leisure.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 5 Characteristics that Will Make You an Unforgettable Person

10. Don’t make excuses for yourself

Many times, the labels of distracted or absent-minded have a secondary benefit: denying responsibility. Then, we use this characteristic to make excuses for ourselves. “That’s just the way I am; you know I’m absent-minded.”

In this sense, to get out of our comfort zone and improve ourselves in the aspects we can improve, it’s important to be honest with ourselves.

absent-minded or forgetful man
Using distraction as an excuse can put us in a comfortable situation of not wanting to change or improve.

Let’s rethink multitasking

Beyond the fact that we can be distracted or absent-minded, it’s also important to understand the context. We’re constantly receiving messages that encourage multitasking, i.e., the fact that we often don’t seek to change or improve.

Although we might think that this is an advantage (writing down a message with one hand while making a reservation and reading the lips of a colleague who enters the office to give us a message), in the medium and long term, the consequences are very visible. We don’t connect with anything and don’t manage to give the proper depth to the issues, so we don’t notice the risks or opportunities for improvement.

Progressively, we begin to experience stress and anxiety. The result is mental exhaustion and even burnout.

Perhaps this is also a question to ask ourselves: distracted by what? We may be aiming to accomplish something that’s beyond our possibilities.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.