We all have days that begin with good intentions but then we get distracted ˗ the internet makes it easy to find other things to do! I know I sit down at the computer to work, go on social media to check messages and end up reading posts and following links. I find myself watching videos or reading articles that have no bearing on what I’m supposed to be doing. Before I know it an hour, or even two, has gone past and I still haven’t started on my work. Distractions sneak up on us in little bits.

Keeping a log of how much time you’re wasting helps you to become more aware of it. Think about why you’re doing it. Often it stems from a fear –fear that you can’t do the task or even a fear that you’re going to miss out on something important if you don’t follow that next link!So what can you do about it?

1) Decide what’s really important. When you get up in the morning spend a few minutes planning your day. Imagine how you’re going to feel when you’ve completed your task, whether that’s cleaning out a cupboard or doing some work on the computer. Focus on the sense of achievement you will gain!

2) When you become distracted, get up and move away. Go outside or into a different room to clear your head. A brisk walk can really help.

3) Try sitting still for a few minutes and just focusing on your surroundings. See, hear and smell what’s around you. Taste the air and really get in touch with your feelings at that moment. This helps you to re-focus.

4) Maybe you’re finding it hard to get started because you feel overwhelmed. Break your task into smaller chunks and only think about completing that next stage. Give yourself a small reward when you’ve completed that little bit (e.g. a cup of your favourite brew or reading an article but time-limit yourself if you’ve still got more to do).

5) Unplug the landline (if you still have one) and turn off your mobile. Turn off any alerts on your computer. Research has shown that any small interruption interrupts our thought flow and that it takes at least 10 minutes to regain the focus. So a couple of alerts in an hour could be costing you 20 minutes. Set aside special times to answer messages or emails.

When you follow these simple steps it becomes easier to stay on task and get through the things you want to do. Then you can spend the rest of your time relaxing and following those links without any guilt!