Master your distractions
I have them. You have them. We all have them. I’m referring to distractions and they’ve never been so many nor so tempting. Still, if you are to become a better you this year, dream big, and achieve big goals, you have to find ways to master your distractions.
I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to live under a tyrant – even if it’s me. Zero-tolerance distraction-busting probably won’t work. It’s the equivalent going on a diet that consists of rice cakes and waters. You might lose some weight in the short-term, but it’s not the way you want to live the rest of your life.
Besides, many of today’s distractions are pleasant, even rewarding. There’s no reason to completely deprive yourself. Checking your Facebook, Instagram, watching YouTube or your favorite TV show is not going to prevent you from reaching your dreams. I’m skeptical of gurus who say they ignore TV or social media, while they make their living by other people finding them and their products there.
The key is awareness and degree. I love what Rachel Hollis says, “You have to decide between what you want now and what you want most.”
Most of your distractions are immediate and easy to access. Your goals and dreams are distant and far away.
Do you remember that analogy as about taking a penny and doubling it each day? The question was how much would you have at the end of 30 days? The surprising answer is over $5 million.
Our distractions add up to knocking us way of course. It may seem like just a few minutes (that often turns into an hour). In a month’s time, you’re way of the course that leads to your a better you.
Here are some practical tips for mastering your distractions. Trust me, guys, this is a constant battle for me as well.
- Name the challenge – you know what your distractions and time-stealers are. Call them out. Make a list of the big ones.
- Size up the challenge – no judgement here. Track for a couple of days how much time you spend on the distractions on your list versus how much time you spend doing something productive that’s helping you reach your goals.
- Devise a plan – now you know what the time drains are and how big they are. Devise a plan for mitigating each them. Be sure to include your plan what might get in the way of your distraction mitigation plan and mitigate them too. Keep in mind, depending on what your distractions are, there may be tech solutions to help. There are apps for writers, for instance, block access to the Internet for a set period of time so they can write.
- Track your progress – the goal is to spend less time on distractions (including busy work) and more time on productive work aligned with your goals. You should begin to see a shift where productive work dominates distractions.
- Celebrate success – always reward yourself for success. Maybe you write for two hours and then you get to watch the latest video from your favorite YouTube channel.
- Be strong-minded – I’ll be doing a whole post on this in the near future. For now, please accept that distractions don’t just happen. Short of a literal emergency, most distractions can wait. An email isn’t urgent just because it arrives. If you want to help prioritize tasks, The Covey Four Quadrants are a time-tested way to help you.
Finally, you can listen to this video. I’ve created an audio affirmation that is three affirmations. This is one you can listen to passively and allow it to fill your consciousness a little bit at a time. I’ll be listening along with you!
Download a free MP3 of this affirmation for your playlist.
In no time, you’ll be the master of your distractions!