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Visualization Helps to Decrease Distractions and Increase Productivity

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

In the challenging, day-to-day lives we lead, distractions are everywhere!  Remaining focused and productive has become difficult for everyone, not just children and adults with ADD.  In the quest to find solutions, one often overlooked technique – visualization – can make a huge difference in productivity,  performance, goal-setting, decreasing stress levels and, of course, decreasing distractions.

The ability to use visualization depends on using your “mind’s eye.”

From Websters Definition of mind’s eye : “the mental faculty of conceiving imaginary or recollected scenes. used her mind’s eye to create the story’s setting ; also : the mental picture so conceived.

Having a mental image heightens your awareness and brings clarity and specificity about the situation or conditions that you confront.

Visualization and Performance

Winning elite athletes use visualization to simulate their competitive situation and mentally rehearse their moves. Research demonstrates that when you envision problems, goals, and possible solutions, you gain clarity and greater empowerment to regulate yourself and solve problems.

A physician discusses the broader benefits of visualization to create what you want to happen in your life.  Effective visualization is action-oriented in that you need a desire to create what you decide to visualize, have belief that it is doable, and accept the possibilities.

Visualization for Productivity

Visualization is part and parcel of behavior change and new habit formation. The more we visualize ourselves doing an activity, the stronger the neural connections are which are associated with that habit.

For example, you might want to enhance your productivity during the next months. One way to increase your sense of control and enhance your performance is to reduce the number of distractions you confront.  While this may not always be so easy, depending on your job, home situation or other environments you frequent, let’s look at some constructive ways you might begin.

Where to start and what to do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Create a mental movie of a situation in which you experience distractions.
  • Play a few scenes and use your mind’s eye to pinpoint the challenges.
  • Identify possible techniques to overcome the challenges you “see.”
  • Set a realistic, short-term objective for reducing or stopping the distractions.
  • Practice using visualization to monitor what you are accomplishing and what needs to changed a bit. The more you use your mind’s eye to reflect about the situation, the easier it is to get on and stay on track.
  • Imagine the positive feelings you will enjoy when you accomplish a small step.

Perhaps you need one 20-minute quiet think time when you request that others do not interrupt you. Will you send out a notice about that time period? Will you post a “do not disturb” sign? Whether at home or work, constant interruptions create stress and leads to work that is incomplete or inaccurate.  Some quiet think time is a necessity in today’s distracting work/life settings.

Visualization and Goal-Setting

When setting a goal, start by engaging in a visual rehearsal. Imaging the scene, you ask, “What is the likelihood of my technique working or not working to reach my goal?” Perhaps you can’t imagine a 20-minute block. You might want to start with a smaller goal and envision 5 to 10 minutes every other day to plan and revise your activities.

Visualization helps you create, plan, and problem-solve. You can pair visualization with productive self-talk. For example, say out loud the positive consequences of the task you are imagining.

Visualization for Stress Management & to Decrease Distractions

You need to relax before you use visualization so that your stress is down and your creative energy is available.  But what about those who “can’t relax,” or find it difficult?  Visualization and guided imagery has been used as a stress management strategy. In such cases, you visualize a peaceful relaxing scene and imagine all the senses that would be triggered. For example, you would imagine the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the scene. The visualization is paired with deep breathing to help you de-stress.

If you want to increase your productivity and need a new way of decreasing distractions, try using visualization. See with your mind’s eye what you want, how to get it, and the positive feelings you’ll gain. The more senses we use in conjunction with visualization, the easier it is to gain and maintain positive habits.

With strong visualizations, the brain doesn’t know the difference between what you are visualizing and what is actually happening.  In addition, clear, big, bright and colorful mental pictures amplify emotional response to that picture.  If that picture also has components including sounds, tastes, touch and smells, the reaction of the brain becomes even stronger.

Visualization is a tool which may require practice, but time spent to become proficient is well-worth it.  When you consider that it enhances performance, productivity, reduces stress and distractions, as well as helps you achieve your goals, it’s a simple, cost-effective strategy anyone can implement at any time – and it’s right in your own brain!


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