The high cost of distraction

We all get distracted. Some of the distractions are brought on by others, but a lot of the time, we do things to distract ourselves. We browse through email and social media instead of getting right to work, we get home and turn on the TV to zone out. We play on our phones whenever we need to take a break and check out for a bit. We cause these distractions for ourselves throughout the day without ever giving much thought to what it costs us in the long run.

Let’s start with working hours. Getting distracted will greatly diminish how much you can get done in a given day. Not only do you lose the time that you’re distracted, be it a minute while you check email, a couple of second while you glance at your phone to see what the flashing alert is about, or the fifteen minutes when a co-worker stops by to chat. You lose additional productive time while you’re trying to figure out where you were at and what you are supposed to be doing. The time it takes to get back into “productive mode” is often longer than the time of the actual distraction. And it all adds up. After a couple of dozen distractions in a given day, you’ve easily lost a couple of hours of work time.

By itself, it may not seem like much, but multiplied over weeks, months, or even the year, it’s a lot of time. It’s a lot of progress that you aren’t making on what you’re working on. It may be the difference between getting that raise or promotion and missing out. It may make the difference between taking your business to the next level, and barely scraping by. It will make a big difference in how much money you make at the end of the year.

Let’s not forget about your personal life. While you may not be able to put a dollar value on the time you waste here by letting yourself be distracted, the cost ends up being even higher. How many hours of quality time that you could be spending with your kids or your spouse are you wasting by watching TV shows you don’t really care about, browsing through YouTube videos, or wasting away scrolling through Facebook and doing a Google search that ends with a cat video after two hours of mindless browsing. Even if it’s just a few minutes here and there, this time adds up and it’s time you’re not getting back.

Isn’t it time to take back control of your time and your life? Start by cutting out as many distractions as you can.