At one point in life I experienced distractions and in some ways still do today. Not until I experienced a lot of suffering did I begin to see more clearly, though. What was happening to me was happening to those around me. Are you consumed with distractions and feel you are being eaten alive? In this quick guide to distractions you will identify and learn to manage distractions. This allows you to go about your day with intentional and purposeful focus. You have a choice to find self-control or be controlled. If you decide to gain control of distractions you’ll use your time more wisely, be more productive and do more of the things you enjoy in life.
Let us begin with getting our minds right.
Internal distractions occur when you cannot filter out thoughts that rerun in your mind and compete for your attention. Those filters cannot function properly without maintenance. Just like your muscles your brain needs rest, nutrition, hydration and activity to work properly.
- A lack of sleep impairs your memory, reaction time and mood. After 17-19 hours of no sleep you’re 50% slower which equals a .05 BAC level. You’re under the influence. The National Sleep Foundation states there is no magic number for hours of sleep; it’s based on age and the person. Other effects of sleep lose are higher blood pressure, cortisol and a weakened immune system.
- A healthier you will focus and have energy to manage time. You don’t need to eat healthy to live but it will have long-term effects. Dehydration even affects the way we think clearly. A small lunch and snacks spread out over the day can give you meaningful nutrition for energy and focus.
- Exercise fuels the brain by pumping oxygen to it. You should exercise 3-5 times a week. If possible, exercise outside. The fresh air and sun are a great source of energy to help you think more clearly. The post workout high will increase your productivity by setting the right mood for you to start off the day with. Take breaks at home and in the office. Kick the ball around with the kids, do 15 minutes of light yard work or go for a walk.
Now, let’s consider protecting the environment.
External distractions occur when things in the environment grab your attention through the basic human senses. When it’s time to work then it’s time to work, and when it’s time to play then it’s time to play. Don’t mix the two and you will be more productive and satisfied. Multitasking is fool’s gold.
- Stop constantly surfing the web, updating your Facebook status and monitoring Twitter feeds. This media can help in business and personal lives, but won’t help get things done. These tools should enhance life, not be distractions. When you do these things, you are losing valuable time doing mindless scrolling, so keep them closed. Check social media a few times a day and set a time limit. Don’t let the internet and social media be your addiction, turn off notifications.
- Email should be closed and retrieved manually a few times a day. If you can’t answer it in a few minutes, it’s a distraction and you should dedicate time for it. There is a lot you can do with email applications to keep emails from being a distraction. Create rules and folders for filing, and then there is canned responses. We have set new expectations with email by being readily available 24 hours a day, but I urge you to disconnect.
- You should cut as much clutter as you can by simplifying your space. Make sure your space is neat, clean, organized and free of clutter. This means your office, desk and devices you work on such as desktops, laptops, and tablets. You could even take this a little further and download your thoughts by writing them down, making a to-do list, or journal. Disorganization causes distraction and waste time searching for what you need.
To live your day with intentional and purposeful focus, find and manage your distractions. You can overcome obstacles if you set your mind to it. The person with grit and desire will rise to the occasion, victorious. The time is now. Each passing minute is gone forever. Right now, you’re in a fight! We all know distractions are prowling around us, ready to pounce and consume our lives. You are not alone. We are in this together.
What are you going to do? Are you ready to fight?