Distractions have a nasty way of sneaking up on you and ruining a perfectly productive day. Unless you live in a perfect world, you will have distractions. Even if you live in a cave, you will have distractions. Here’s how to reduce distractions and minimise their impact:
1. Unplug. Turn off cell phones, electronic notifications and social media. Even in this instant-availability world, you have a right to be able to focus on what you’re doing without being at everybody’s beck and call 24/7. Set aside an hour of noise-free work. People can wait an hour. Seriously. And you might get to like this so much that you will turn off your electronics for several hours at a time. Imagine how productive you’ll be!
2. Don’t take it so seriously. When you hear the word “focus,” you probably imagine yourself cloistered away somewhere, head down, buried in what you’re doing. Well, yes. But who says that focus has to be serious? That it has to be “work”? If you have kids, you know how immersed they get in their play. When they pretend, they’re all in it, 100%. The secret to focus is being relaxed, curious and playful. The more you can chill out, become fascinated with your project and infuse what you’re doing with joy, the easier it is to focus.
3. Manage your internal distractions. The urge to get up every 15 minutes to have a drink of water or coffee; the urge to check your email/social media; the inner voice that helpfully reminds you of the things you would rather be/should be doing. Here’s how to silence the inner chatter. Simply say, “Shhhh, not now.” to yourself every single time you have an intrusive thought. Give your mind a direct order – you are working on something and it needs to be onboard with that. This might sound like a silly thing to say to yourself, but it works. It immediately shuts down that train of thought, and allows you to return to your task.
4. Clear the clutter. Clean your workspace so that there is less to visually distract you and/or remind you of other things you need to do.
5. Finish what you start. Unfinished business has a way of hovering around you like a horsefly. It just won’t go away until you’ve finished it.
6. Make it a habit. Once a day, devote a minimum of 15 minutes to your goal. Ultimately you have nobody, and nothing, to blame if your goal doesn’t get achieved. If you devote just 15 minutes a day to it, your small steps will add up and multiply to huge results that will defy the odds – why? Because in 15 minutes, you can make a big mistake; and in the next 15, you can fix the mistake, learn from it and move on. Success has often been called the combination of a series of failures; so the more action you take, the more you mess up… and the more you learn and apply what you’ve learned. Then, you will succeed.
Inspired by http://www.43folders.com