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Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive
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Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Are you driven to distraction at work?

Bestselling author Edward M. Hallowell, MD, the world’s leading expert on ADD and ADHD, has set his sights on a new goal: helping people feel more in control and productive at work.

You know the feeling: you can’t focus; you feel increasingly overwhelmed by a mix of nonstop demands and technology that seems to be moving at the speed of
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published November 18th 2014)
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Emma Sea
My name's Emma and -- this will be deeply shocking to exactly zero people on Goodreads -- I have an internet addiction. A screen time problem. Electronic FOMO.¹

Unfortunately, Hallowell's solution is a complete non-starter for me. "I [prescribe] human connection as a replacement for screen time."

Dude, all my connected humans ARE ON THE SCREEN!!!!

I'm going to read his Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood now. Although I don'
Further ruminations on update 2 / page 135:
It's funny, because I can see the intent behind the fictional case studies, but they just don't feel realistic. The "screen addiction" one feels so outdated-- he recommends keeping a record of when you "log on" and "log off" the internet, as if that's something you have to consciously choose OR something you can avoid doing while at work. The author does admit to being in his late sixties, so that might explain the slightly out-of-touch feel to these st
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The author of this book definitely does a good job highlighting attention/focus issues in today's world, but he also does a good job at making a lot of the information up. Also constantly advertising his previous books. You go Ned.
Don't get me wrong, he's probably a very experienced and knowledgeable writer, however he doesn't need to overthink every situation in terms of ADHD. It's great how he addresses all the problems and gives tips and guides on how to deal with it. Still, most of the cont
Pam Cipkowski
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Sounded promising, but not quite what I thought it would be. Hallowell outlines six ADTs (Attention Deficit Traits)--behavior types or ways that people tend to lose focus at work: "screen sucking” (internet/social media addiction), multitasking, idea hopping, worrying, playing the hero, and dropping the ball. I saw a little of myself in each of these, so I was hopeful that I'd find some good advice to combat these traits. The problem is that he bases each of these types on very individualized ca ...more
Rachel Nabors
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books about getting things done and how to be more effective. But for me I often feel the more I try to do, the less effective I am. And there might be something to that.

This book isn’t just for adults diagnosed with ADHD/ADD: it is for anyone experiencing symptoms in line with that diagnosis. Many “effective behaviors” we learn as young adults or even as children might get us to where we are but then hinder us in the long run: multi-tasking becomes a loss of focus and control
Hallowell breaks down 6 distracted employee types, including technology addicts, multitaskers who can't say no, idea people who can't follow through, those who do for others before themselves, worriers and those with clinical ADHD. The greatest thing about this book is how Hallowell creates a fictitious sufferer of each of his types, allegedly an amalgam of people he's counseled or interviewed. It's great because Hallowell clearly enjoys creating these personas, who have remarkably detailed back ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Reading 2015 - For a few years now I have noticed it increasingly difficult to focus my attention at work. Not to the point where my work suffers significantly, but definitely to the point where perhaps I am a ways off my best. This has been a topic of conversation at work amongst a few of us, and someone mentioned this book. "Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive"
by Edward M. Hallowell.

I thought I would give it a read and I am a little surprised to say that I think
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
There wasn't too much "new" information and a lot of instances where distracting issues were covered but not in the way to assist the reader or improving focus. Although I did not read this title cover to cover, but instead chose specific chapters I felt I could adapt and improve my own attention. I still had trouble seeing how an individual could apply this in real life.
I felt as if the author enjoyed hearing himself expound on the wide variety of reasons why so many get distracted, going in
Matt Stevens
Apr 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
LIbrary book. Actually surprised I finished it. Def not hte book for me. His examples are so extreme I couldn't find anything in common with them or I couldn't even identify any co-workers who had items in common with them.

Also, his examples, in my opinion, had so many of their bad habits blamed on their parents and child hood that I really wonder about hte applicability to other readers.

Would not recommend to anyone.
Chris Esposo
Interesting premise on distraction while doing things, and how to minimize that distraction. The author, who is a clinical psychiatrist, that was one of the first to identify ADD in the early 90s, believes that adults who operate in fast-paced or information-dense occupations may also suffer from "ADD-like" ailment which he labels Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), that has many different, potentially independent, drivers.

The book is laid out, in the case-format, half a dozen or so scenarios that il
Sam Williams Jebaraj
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
One of the best self help books I’ve read. In the first section of the book, The author addresses the psychological reasons behind our behaviour and how to address such behaviour and resolve issues with distractions at work due to too much electronics and other factors. The second section addresses how to perform well at our jobs and in our lives. By using simple techniques. If you need a self help book to address performance issues due to distractions and other factors this book is a good read.
Fastener Gal
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by a friend that is focused and productive. It was an easy read and made me evaluate the aspects of my life that needed improvement: mainly multi-tasking and worrying. I dog-eared several sections that were helpful as I journey towards my more focused and productive self.
Kathleen Lamothe
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super clear, ADHD-friendly format (but I guess that's kinda par for the course from one of the leading ADHD experts eh?) A treasure trove of tips, tricks, strategies, and suggestions for becoming more focused, intentional, productive, happy, loved, and, ultimately, feeling like we're living lives that really matter. ...more
Karly TyGr
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adhd
I found this book to be very helpful for those who may be dealing with ADHD or may just be dealing with the rise of attention issues in our society.

It is one of the first books I’ve read in my ADHD research, so I may change my opinion after reading more, but I found the stories told were relatable and helped make sense of the different ways we get distracted.

Stacie Savage
Jul 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wasn't able to finish this book, because it wasn't interesting enough nor did it have practical advice. I had high expectations since this is a book authored by the renowned ADHD specialist Dr. Hallowell, but it fell short. ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional book on promoting healthy productivity, and not just at work! Hallowell’s insights are powerful – wise and timely, ingenious and practical, doable and effective. This is definitely on my “to-reread” list.
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Had some very insightful ideas, very glad I read. Covers a lot of causes for distractions, most of which won't be relevant to a single person. Skimmed a lot. Some advice has been said a million times. But worth the skim to get the valuable bits. ...more
Gerald Earnhardt
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book offers really basic advice such as don’t look at your phone, talk to a friend, set 3 goals, etc but doesn’t really go much further than that. He seems ultra obsessed with sex in this book which came across as a bit weird and off topic to me.
Michael Kinnavy
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s an Awesome Book to Read

This book is an excellent book to read with real life examples on how our cell phone devices distract us at every avenue and how using a few simple methods he outlined in the book help solve them and get your life back!
Katie Brenner
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very helpful in de-stigmatizing and bringing to light attention deficit disorder, very comprehensive and enjoyable to read with many relatable anecdotes
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Good information if you can wade through the fictional scenarios that are way to cheesy.
Maureen DuRant
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read everything by Hallowell. If you know me, you know why.
Ryan Croke
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Quick easy read with lots of good strategies. Definitely going to be trying some out.
Eileen Sullivan
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at the library last week in the "new" nonfiction area and it was a perfect read over the past week two weeks. The author is an expert on ADHD but his focus here was to examine the reasons why people get distracted at work. There is a chapter for each of the six distractions-screen sucking, multitasking, idea hopping, worrying, playing the hero, and dropping the ball. Then he provides some realistic advice about how to deal with the issues. Yes- I am guilty of the distractio ...more
Kent Keifer
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
The author comes up with some categories of distractedness for which you can take a test to determine which category(s) you fit. Then gives some strategies for dealing with these types of personality types. I took the test, but not sure if it accurately categorized my type. I thought I might fit numerous types but after reading the individual examples I wasn't too sure. The suggestions he had for dealing with distraction were valid and some suggestions were things I agreed I needed to work on. T ...more
Ron Mcintyre
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall, this is a good book that covers many areas of distraction but his solutions are somewhat simplistic which may make many not want to participate. His previous book deals with ADHD so much of that has been filtered into this book and while it may have a bearing, I am not convinced it is at the core of all the issues.

He does provide 10 tips at the end of each chapter and the points, while basic, are helpful to anyone looking to resolve the issues they are dealing with. Can make a great di
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I like that Hallowell is not afraid to be authentic and admit how these techniques have worked for him and why. Especially when he talks about energy - so many doctors preach when it comes to food and exercise, but he was realistic. I also liked that he used case studies as examples of the different problems with focus that people can have. Mostly, this book reiterates what I have learned in other books about focus, including others by the same author. It's well-organized and clear, and presents ...more
Ravi Raman
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
One of the best books on productivity and focus that I've read. Far more actionable than Daniel Goleman's book "Focus: the hidden driver of excellence."

Practical tips aplenty on how to eliminate distractions while also training attention. What I like is that the book isn't a giant system, that you need to adopt wholesale to see results. You can easily pull out a few nuggets and start applying to see results. The stories highlighting the start of each chapter are also interesting, albeit too lon
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This has been my work book for the past few weeks and in typical business book fashion it had some good tidbits which it then repeated a bunch of times. You know what I mean - eke a book out of a blog post? I'd recommend this book for a certain type of person who has trouble focusing (not my particular issue) and it definitely had some good takeaways but it was about twice as long as it needed to be. Good for a skim if you're looking for some help focusing!
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Stuff; nothing earth shattering

It was an interesting read that I actually finished so that must mean something :) It is comforting to know many people deal with similar issues so I would recommend the book on that alone. I think it os easy to get down on yourself as "undisciplined" or "lazy" when you deal with ADHD or even ADT but it is good to know we can do things to set ourselves up for success and identify those things that are bringing us down.
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Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D., is a child and adult psychiatrist, a NY Times bestselling author, a world-renowned speaker and a leading authority in the field of ADHD. He has authored twenty books including the 1994 ground-breaking New York Times best-seller on ADHD, Driven to Distraction. In aggregate, Dr. Hallowell's books have sold more than 2 million copies on various psychological topics inclu ...more

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