Cell phones and emails. Social media and texts. Fatigue and hunger. Stress and anxiety. The list could go on and on.
Distraction is a thing that prevents you from giving your full attention to something else. It pulls you away from your main focus and prevents you from using and aiming your full attention toward whatever it is that you’re trying to do.
Distractions happen both internally and externally and while not all distractions are your fault, it is your job to manage them.
Distractions Are Detrimental
Distractions are detrimental to all 4 Pillars of Living a Succesful Life. Since it pulls your attention away, distractions can take away from your job, your health, your relationships, and your spirituality. If allowed to, distractions can become an ugly habit that steals away your focus from the things that really matter.
Distractions, if left unchecked can cost you your job, your spouse, and more. Do any of these distractions sound familiar?
- Reading every pop-up on your phone, even if you’re with friends and family.
- You find yourself checking your email constantly.
- Thumbing through your social media feeds when you should be eating dinner with your spouse.
- Not getting enough sleep and losing focus throughout the day.
- Skipping meals and feeling hungry all the time.
What do all of those have in common? They can all be managed. If you don’t have a plan for the distractions in your life you’ll never be able to accomplish the things that are important to you.
There is Nothing Wrong With Taking a Break
Taking a break can be good for you. I encourage them. However, it’s when these breaks become unintentional that problems begin to arise.
It’s healthy to include breaks in your day, just make sure that they are both intentionally and thoughtfully applied. In fact, I encourage you to do this. If you thoughtfully schedule breaks throughout the day you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly less distracted.
Planning Against Distractions
If you don’t plan your days then you can’t possibly know what’s a distraction and what’s intentional.
Of course, when I say plan your days I’m talking in more of a professional sense but also having a plan for your days off can be equally as important.
If you have a job like I do (marketing can be both stressful and time-consuming) then its imperative that you plan out your days so that you don’t get distracted from the things that are most important.
While you’re at it, plan for your days off so that you don’t get distracted from your spouse, your children, or even your health.
Get enough sleep. Eat healthily. Understand your triggers and have a plan for when they happen.
Knowing why you feel the way that you do and learning how to react to them in a healthy manner will go a long way to helping you cope with your internal triggers. I’ve written about this before but you must understand that while you may not be able to control HOW you feel, you most certainly can control how you REACT to those feelings.
Distractions are an unhealthy way to deal with both your internal and external struggles. Many times distractions happen because you don’t want to face up to the challenges ahead. Don’t let that be you. Face your issues, master them, and because better off because you did.
External triggers are many and can distract you from the fact that it’s a distraction because of your dopamine response to something stimulating. This is why I’m a proponent of planning.
Just make sure that you ask yourself one simple question throughout the day:
Then, take action. If the answer is closer then keep doing it. If not, then stop. This will eventually become a habit so start asking yourself this question right away.
A Few Tips To Help Ward off Distractions
- Have a plan, of course, we’ve already spoken about this, but keep in mind how important having a plan is.
- Keep your visions and your goals in mind. Write them down and refer back to them often.
- Clarify your day BEFORE it starts. Look at your calendar and know what the day ahead looks like.
- Having a BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) is great but make sure that you break it down into smaller goals so that you don’t get distracted by the daunting nature of BHAGs.
- Get started sooner. Finish a few smaller tasks early on so that you gain momentum.
- Then, manage that momentum. Make sure that you mark off your tasks throughout the day so that you can see your list of to-dos getting smaller.