This article reviews a book, Driven to Distraction at Work, written by Edward Hallowell, which examines reasons we fail to be as productive as we might want to be and suggests ways in which we can remedy this situation.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies, man in society

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are some of the reasons that we fail to be productive?
  • How can we correct these factors?

New Terminology:

Attention-deficit trait

Materials Needed:

  • No specific materials required
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

In today’s world the pace is frenetic and the boundaries between work and life blurred. It is easy, therefore, to be less productive than we would want to be, which leads to frustration and fatigue.

Trying to handle all these pressures and maintain a healthy work-life balance becomes a trying task which requires skills not needed in earlier times. With the pace of change ever-increasing it is, indeed, easy to become overwhelmed and less productive and efficient unless we recognize the forces at work and develop strategies to manage them. In the book which is reviewed in the article the author identifies six habits which we can unknowingly develop which contribute to this sense of being overpowered. This lesson will have the students reflect on their personal situation; contemplate those things they do that are counterproductive to being efficient in dealing with tasks; and decide on some strategies that they will personally employ to help manage these demands. In doing so, they will be better prepared for future challenges and be better able to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students how many of them experience distractions when completing tasks such as doing their homework.
  • Ask those who said they experienced distractions to identify some of them.
  • Ask them what they do to minimize those distractions.
  • Ask them now to consider their work situation if they have part time jobs.
  • Ask them to identify the distractions which occur in the workplace.
  • As a final question to them, ask them if they feel overwhelmed by all the demands that they face and if they wish that they could reduce that sense of being “pulled in too many directions”.
  • Having gotten their responses, provide them with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Once they have done this, briefly discuss their reactions to it.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Ask them to consider their own personal initial responses, the article and the class discussion of the article, and decide on one thing that they might now do to reduce the distractions and develop a better sense of efficiency and control.
  • Have the students identify their selections.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • identify things that they might have been doing that exacerbate their lack of efficiency and sense of being overwhelmed.
  • identify strategies and techniques that they might employ to reduce distractions and increase their efficiency and sense of control.

Confirming Activity:

  • Allow the students the remainder of the period to begin a personal writing piece that addresses the following and is to be handed in at the beginning of the next period:

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being totally focused and in control and 10 being highly distracted and overwhelmed) I am a …….. As a result of today’s class I will use the following ideas and change my habits and practices in the following ways: (List at least two things and explain how you think this will help you.)