It has been about two weeks since my last post. I am back off of a hiatus. Have you ever found yourself feeling in a “rut”? Hold up, before you answer that question let me explain to you what it is to be in a “rut”. To be in a “rut”, is to be settled in a habit. Particularly a boring habit. It’s getting off track and growing comfortable in that habit.
An expression used to describe being in a “rut”, is having a wheel stuck in a groove in the road. This phrase is used often to describe a state of being. This phrase accurately describes how I have been feeling. And it’s been for no apparent reason, other than I simply didn’t feel inspired to blog. During the past two weeks I decided to take a slight break from social media.
Social media is a great way to connect with others but too much connectivity can cause a bigger disconnect in other areas of life. Do not allow social media to become a distraction to your life and goals.
Today I want to talk about distractions and how you can overcome distractions in your life. I really believe that distractions are what causes people to fall into a “rut”.
The average person is distracted or interrupted every 40 seconds when working in front of their computer.Harvard Business Review
This means that basically when connected to social media or working from a computer, you can’t focus for a single minute before becoming distracted with something else. Once your attention derails, it can take up to 20 minutes to regain focus on your initial task.
Why do we cling to distractions? As humans our attention span is attracted to respond to elements that bring us either pleasure or fear.
The main way you can overcome distractions is by incorporating strategies that can assist with mitigating the distractions in your life. It’s all about setting boundaries and expectations for yourself.
Create a distraction free zone/ritual
Living in a world filled with distractions, the first step is to place limits. Create a distraction free zone. There are a few areas within my home that I have designated as my distraction free zone. Those areas include:
- Dining Room
- Home Office
When I walk into any of the above rooms I do not bring any distractions with me [iPhone]. My iPhone is something that I would consider to be my biggest distraction. From pings or vibrations I immediately get the urge to reach for my phone to check my notifications.
During moments when I really need to focus time to a specific task I will utilize the do not disturb feature on my iPhone and/or simply leave my phone in another room; in order to reduce distractions. If working directly from your computer close out any unnecessary browsing tabs/windows and sign-out of all social media accounts. This will deter you from stumbling off task while working online.
Set daily intentions
Setting daily intentions will allow you to have a clear understand and visual of what you need to focus on each day. Writing out your daily intentions is a great strategy that will encourage you to work with a greater intent, and focus on priority items.
Decide on the best time that works for your schedule in which you can make a list of your daily intentions. I personally choose to set my daily intentions the night before. This allows me to plan for the day ahead, while waking up with a clear understanding of what tasks I need to accomplish by the end of the day.
Tasks on my daily intention lists are only tasks of high priority. Any task that does not have priority should be listed on a separate list. I highly suggest to keep your daily intention list short. Maybe, commit to three daily intentions. You do not want to lose focus on high priority items that can potentially set you back on deadlines. Setting priorities for your daily intentions is crucial to your success in overcoming distractions.
Focus on difficult tasks first
Distractions often occur because we aren’t feeling challenged enough. Based off my daily intentions and task lists I find myself to be more productive focusing on difficult tasks first. Once I get into a groove, I begin seeing results. Results encourages me to keep working even harder.
If you are focused on challenging and difficult tasks you will not have room for distractions. Distractions only fit into your schedule if you make room for them.
The Distraction Equation:
busywork + less challenging work = greater opportunities for distractions
Sure, you can devote your day to working on a task. For example, looking ahead into your week you can declare Saturday as your day to declutter. Assigning a task to a entire day is a huge MISTAKE. This does not set boundaries or limitations. And often, this approach will cause you a great deal of anxiety to complete a task with no real bar set on the expectations of the desired results.
Instead, set boundaries. Creating deadlines will allow you to set boundaries and limitations. Rather than vaguely stating Saturday will be the day you will commit to declutter, set a timer and give yourself a set time to complete the task you have chosen to complete. For example, on Saturday I will spend 30 minutes decluttering each room in the house. Whatever, is not completed in that time frame will then be done next time. Limiting the time you give yourself will encourage you to really zone in and focus on the task.
My recommendations will not eliminate distractions in your life. But, you can use my recommendations as strategies to overcome the distractions presenting in your life. You have the ability to change and take charge over the distractions in your life. Now is the time to get out of the “rut” you have been in. If one of your wheels is stuck in a groove in the road- NOW is the time to step out and give yourself a push. The path is still set for travel- get your wheels moving- leave that “old” raggedy groove (bump) in the road behind!