I have a cousin who often comments about the “squirrels in his head getting loose”. He, of course, is referring to getting distracted and losing focus on the task at hand - chasing after the “shiny object”. I can relate.
2 young children, running a business, co-parenting, giving energy to my marriage, chauffeuring children around, self-care upkeep, keeping in touch with family and the few friends that have stuck around with all my “busy” (see Addicted to Busy) can become very overwhelming.
Seem familiar? Common distractions can include Netflix/Hulu/Prime binges, hours on social media, Youtube videos of Ed Sheeran singing Shape of You, daydreaming while pinning fantasy vacation ideas on Pinterest, and playing with the latest filters on Snapchat.
We live in a time in which large amounts of information are filtered to us quickly. From smart-phones, tablets, computers, and wi-fi connected tvs - we are inundated with the latest stock numbers, world-wide news, tabloid stories, sports scores, and baby-mama-drama of the rich and famous. The cost? Lost productivity, use of our limited attention supply, and damaged relationships (both personal and professional).
How to be less distracted?
Silence: I keep my phone on “do not disturb” and silent. All. The. Time. I found the constant notifications made it difficult to get through a single-task, further draining my energy and eventually focusing on something that was NOT GETTING ME TO MY GOAL! I set aside a specific time in my day to respond to voice-mail, emails, and text messages.
Blocking Time: Dedicating a specific amount of time to major tasks I want to accomplish that day such as responding to emails or writing blog posts. Grouping similar and related tasks minimizes the outward energy flow - meaning you have more energy for the tasks you actually want to be doing!
Setting a Timer: Fighting the urge to daydream rarely works. What is more intoxicating or pleasing than imagining a vacation in the Bahamas or building your dream home in the mountains? Thanks to apps like Pinterest - those ideas and visual representations of your dreams are immediately available. What’s a person to do?? Setting a timer to get a specific task done has been proven to increase time efficiency. Giving yourself 30 minutes to respond to voicemails and then rewarding yourself with a short break to daydream will net more accomplished tasks.
Be a Human: Believe it or not- you are not Superman or Wonder Woman. You are not impervious to bullets, laser beams, or icy blasts of a freeze ray. Behaving as if you are on a constant basis depletes your energy and increases your proneness to distraction. Connecting with nature. Getting dirty. Going to bed earlier, stretching, finding opportunities to be present and mindful - all tips for getting less distracted and more on track!
What other tips and tricks do you know of or have? Let me know in the comments below!
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. As always I am happy to provide feedback or suggestions!