Distractions become a problem when it hinders the work we wish to do and removes our attention from what we value in our lives. Exercising, eating consciously, going out for a walk, losing out on spending time with the important people in our lives. Whatever we may want to do can be interrupted by continual distractions.
Distractions can even make us lose focus and awareness of ourselves. When we distract ourselves, it usually continues because we shift our awareness else wards. It’s usually smaller distractions. The ones that provide instant gratification.
Looking back on our whole day; we see how little we do and how much distract ourselves. It can be frustrating to see a whole day gone by because of distractions. Getting upset at ourselves is only counter intuitive to progress or any change.
Distractions are self-inflicted. If we can realize that we choose to distract ourselves, we can overcome distractions. Some distraction is not bad. When the distractions take over your time you will only end up hurting ourselves in the long run. If we realize the effect this will have on our lives, we can choose to minimize and eventually remove distractions from our lives.
It’s easy to distract ourselves because of the things in our lives.
We are constantly adding these things, and never removing.
More will lead to more worry, distraction and loss of focus.
Yesterday I had no internet. None whatsoever. I didn’t know what to do. I normally spend a few hours on Facebook, twitter and other online forums. It was very eye opening to see my impulses try to take over. My mind was telling me to go check Facebook, twitter, go on a forum and check email. But I couldn’t. All my impulses were cut short.
So I decided to change my focus. I decided to ask myself what I wanted to do and not what my impulses wanted me to do. I (focused) on what mattered. I asked myself what I value; and how I can work towards my own goals.
My productivity increased drastically. I normally write about 1 or 2 articles per week. Today I wrote 3. In one day. I did the work I’d normally do in about 2-3 weeks, in one day.
- Make a list. After asking myself what I wanted to do; I made a list. I split it into two categories. High priority tasks and low priority tasks. I instantly put Facebook, twitter, online forums, e-mail on low priority. On high priority I put writing an article. Ask yourself what is more important in your life and want to prioritize?
- Alternate between high and low. Since I had a lot of focus and energy from not spending it on the lower priority tasks I started with my high priority; writing. I just wrote; for 1 hour. When I noticed my focus starting to slip away I took a break and moved onto checking Facebook. I set myself a limit of 5 minutes and once that was done I stopped. I went back to writing. I alternated between the two until I completed my first of three articles. This is about your priorities. When you make a list of things to do, set a ranking between high priority and low priority.
- Take breaks. Taking breaks helps you become more productive. Taking a pause every 20 minutes for 2-5 minutes allows you to step back. Step away from what you are doing. Do some stretching, have a fruit, do something to get your mind off the task. Reward yourself for focusing. Sometimes when we focus on too much we can feel overwhelmed and normally resort to instant gratification. Distraction can usually take over focus and lose our awareness. When you come back your mind will be more more clearer and you can continue.
- Take it slow. If you are new to this go at your own pace. Start small. Focus on a high priority task for 20 minutes then take a break. Or even start (smaller). Once you start, continuing becomes easier for you. With time you’ll begin to acquire more will power and continue for longer periods of time. I first was writing for about 25 minutes before my mind would start to wander off into different areas. I now can write for about 1 hour and a half before I lose my focus.
- A productive space. A productive station will limit your distractions. Organizing the items and resources required for your high priority tasks limits your distractions and sets boundaries to what you can distract yourself with. Extras like photo albums, trinkets, etc can make our desks familiar and friendly to us, but has a probability to cause day-dreaming sessions and set your mind towards distraction.
- Calm. Try and eliminate all noises and go to a location that is very quiet. The less noises, the more focus.
Some little extra tips to eliminate further distractions:
- Have water nearby. For convenience and to stay hydrated!
- Put your phone on silent mode. To avoid interruptions or notifications.
- If you have multiple links/tabs open, save them in your browser and close them. When you finished, open your browser and they will re-open.
Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.Adam Hochschild.
Until next time,