Last week I mentioned that we have unlimited access and live in an age of distractions where attention is demanded by many things. This includes:
- Telephone calls
- Text messages
- Social media
A major news network reported texting and walking is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Pedestrian safety is becoming an even bigger issue with more than 1,500 people treated in the emergency room this past year due to texting and walking. Another study shows that you are 60% more likely to be injured if you are distracted while walking. People have fallen into fountains, walked into poles, and been hit by cars.
The Worst Way to Be Productive
This behavior has been proven unproductive and is rude from a social standpoint. Last week I told a story about the couple in the coffee shop. This week look around during your next lecture or meeting. Observe those around you who are possibly texting or tweeting. You can then validate your suspicion by evaluating the expression on their faces. If it doesn’t match the tone of the meeting nor do they look up to engage in the conversation, they are probably not mentally present in some way. When you multitask you become less productive. You have to work twice as hard and long to get the same amount completed if you were only focused on the one task at hand.
How Doing Less Leads to Focus
The point of being productive is to do more while doing less. When you focus on a center point, for example a camera lens when taking a picture or a race horse who wears blinders, you achieve greater efficiency. Think of a time when you achieved great success and a time when you missed the mark. Was your focus the biggest deciding factor? Maybe not at first look, but when we start problem solving and try to get to the root of why things did not go well, you will probably find that the list of distractions above contributed to the failure.
Concentration and Focus: Is There a Difference?
Concentration is what currently has your attention. We use the word focus interchangeably in life – you can use it to define optics, geology, geometry, physics, and pathology. Focus in productivity is about a long range goal or target, a center point. Both concentration and focus can be killed by multitasking and distractions. If you feel like you are on autopilot you might have some distractions blocking your concentration. If you are multitasking, maybe you are focused on too many goals due to distractions and demands. It is not hard to get off track, especially in a results-driven society. We are all prone to distractions. We all seek happiness and each one of us defines what happiness is. It is the quick fixes in the short term that gets in the way of lifelong happiness and satisfaction.
Manage Your Stress
Many of these quick fixes for happiness are because we are stressed, which is a result of your hard work trying to achieve your dreams. Sometimes you are enticed and need to indulge. A lot of the stress in our daily lives can be reduced. We get that stress from the hectic lives we live, the information overload and constant demand for our attention. Stress can be reduced, not eliminated, by getting focused. When you reduce distractions you start to rebuild focus. When you do so, you will achieve your target quicker due to efficiency.
Break The Cycle
Distractions can be a continuous cycle that keeps looping and one you need to break out of. By simply reducing the number of distractions you can change the pattern. The most shared quality of anyone who has achieved success is focus. You know when you have achieved focus when you are mindful in the present moment but aware of all that is going on around you, and are still able to concentrate on the end state.