Distractions be gone!

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One of the most common challenges my coaching clients struggle with is handling distractions. They get frustrated because succumbing to distractions stops them from doing the important things that help them move forwards towards achieving their bigger goals.

I sometimes fall foul of this too. This week, I had a couple of almost completely free days and thus more time on my hands than usual. So you’d think I got lots done? Wrong! (you knew that was coming didn’t you) For example, one morning I somehow decided that looking at Facebook page analytics was fascinating and critical(!) and also that I really should catch up on all this month’s tweets from those I follow … and all the links in the tweets !  2 hours later, time for a sandwich and catch up on the day’s headlines on Sky news. An hour later (well you shouldn’t rush digesting lunch should you!) and that morning… and half of the day… had passed forever.

Of course once something like this has happened, the best thing to do is quickly mop up the milk, dry the tears and then try to learn from the experience. Thinking about this led me to hunt out and reflect on some top tips for staying focussed and defeating the “time stealers” and “attractive procrastination opportunities” that present themselves to us daily.

So I started to compile a list of things to share with you. Then in the middle of my search I came across this excellent infographic from Learning Fundamentals which summarises most of them!  Go and check out the site (it’s great) but not yet… I don’t want you to get distracted from reading this post 😉

I think I’ll make a personalised version for myself and put it where I’ll see it several times during the day. Visual reminders like this can be very powerful in raising our awareness and spurring us on to take action.

And I believe that sorting this stuff out is very important. One of the polar opposites to making the most of ourselves is getting “stuck in a rut”. I think most of our “ruts” are the eventual result of distractions or a lack of focus.  Getting distracted is easy.  Losing focus is easy.  What’s hard is realising what’s going on and then doing something about it.

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” ~ Christopher Columbus

8 Responses to Distractions be gone!

  1. Love this graphic! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Nina says:

    Interesting post, Frank. It’s amazing how we can distract ourselves, isn’t it? I find that having a goal for the week gives me some focus. I’m not lucky enough to have whole days to do whatever I want, so writing down one or two key things I want to achieve helps focus my mind!

  3. That’s a helluva helpful infographic! I have one remark re: the orange branch. “Spend 10 minutes a day on decluttering” should rather be “spend MAXIMUM 10 minutes a day” – people with ADD often suffer from hyperfocus and I know for myself that once I commit myself to decluttering, I can spend half a day on it, which is pretty ironic considering that I take up decluttering in order to gain space to do something really important. This tip helped me a lot at work, especially with emails.The idea of a quiet morning is brill, a while ago I changed job and have to spend 50 minutes on a bus every morning to get to my new workplace. At first I thought it would be a burden, but as a result I finally found time for reading, drawing or thinking, because during those 50 minutes there’s nothing else to do and nowhere else to go.
    I took the liberty of following your blog to try your tips and give you some feedback. We all need testers, right 🙂

  4. Great post and love the infographic! I think we’re definitely in an age where the battle is for attention rather than time. And you’re right the key isn’t to never get distracted or lose focus, but to notice, be mindful and do something constructive about it. Thanks Frank!

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