Daily, we have so many distractions floating around and occupying our minds, such that it can be difficult to stay focus and keep eyes on the prize towards achieving one's goals. In fact, it’s impossible to avoid being distracted altogether; however, distractions can be managed in order to accomplish more and consequently become more successful.
Distractions can come in many forms for example, a new relationship, chatty co-worker, spouse, children, the television (i.e., does the NBA Finals, Copa America, and hit TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Scandal and the House Wives rings a bell). Further, because we now live in a digital age, technology (i.e., emails, mobile phones, the Internet, social media and all these different gadgets and electronics) has become a major source of distraction for many of us. Social Media alone (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat to name a few) can easily consume a good portion of the day if one is not careful. Having your attention constantly diverted from a combination of these distractions can reduce productivity and may lead to stress. Constant and prolonged stress will not promote wellness and good health.
Distractions aren’t always bad however; we’re human and sometimes a healthy dose of distraction is welcome and people do need a break sometimes. A healthy dose of distraction can be good balance to help clear the mind and relax while doing something completely mindless such as flipping through pictures of strangers on Instagram or stalking an ex-boyfriend on Facebook lol (I am joking about the stalking part and in no way condone criminal behavior but some of you are guilty as charge)!
While some level of distractions are needed and can be healthy, more discipline is needed to limit the amount of distractions in order to re-gain focus on things that are important and meaningful in your life such as making progress towards achieving your goals. If you allow yourself to be constantly distracted, you will lose focus and maybe lost sight of things that are most important to accomplish in the very limited 24-hour-day that we all have. Time is extremely precious, and for example once you deduct the recommended 7-9 hours adults need for sleep, eight or more hour shift at work, travel/commuting and meal time, there's not too many hours left in the day. Therefore, being more wise and strategic in how you spend those precious hours will have significant impact on your productivity and promotes better health.
There’s a saying that goes everything in moderation, and I am adding distractions to that list. In other words distractions aren’t necessarily bad, but you must accept a reasonable dose or it can become toxic. Learning how to minimize the distractions in your life can dramatically increase your productivity and reduce your level of stress. For example, how many times did you miss a deadline or was under so much pressure to complete a project under tight deadline because you procrastinated and allowed yourself to be distracted far too long, and now must play catch-up to make up for lost productivity. Working from a constant state of panic and playing catch-up as a result of not staying focus and being too distracted can’t be good for your health.
Staying focus can be difficult in light of all the distractions that will try to compete for your attention, but the ability to prioritize all while balancing a reasonable amount of distraction is key!
Allow yourself to be distracted for a moment but set an internal clock and have discipline to get back to working on your goals/ dreams. The ability to manage the distractions in your life will determine the level of productivity and success you achieve in turning your dreams into reality.
Here are some tips for managing distractions in order to stay focus on goals and boost your productivity:
✓ Acknowledge the source of the distraction.
Once you are aware of the thing(s) that distracts you, you can be proactive in managing them.
✓ Get more organized.
✓ Prioritize and schedule important activities on your calendar.
✓ Only attend meetings and functions that are relevant to you.
✓ Develop a realistic to-do-list and set a reasonable amount of time aside each day for breaks and to allow self to be distracted.
For example, if you’re one of those people who keep cell-phone on desk at work and check every incoming notification, and of course including checking every like or comment on social media account immediately, one solution is to keep your cell-phone in your purse and check for example, every 2-3 hours instead. Similarly, for emails, set a designated time to check and respond to emails that way you can actually get something accomplished without having to stop every minute to respond to emails which can cause you to lose your concentration and focus on task at hand. Of course, depending on your work environment, certain e-mails from a certain boss must be responded to immediately but that’s for your discretion.
✓ Choose your distractions wisely.
Nowadays, there are so many social media platforms, and I am sure more will be coming down the pipeline and it’s perfectly okay if you’re not an active participant on all of them. Pick one, two, or three but don’t engage in all of them because the more platforms you have to keep up with, the more distracted you will be and the less productive you will be. The choice of which platform you choose can be based on your work, industry or interest. For example, I made the decision that once I started using Instagram, I would not also be an active user of Facebook. Now I am thinking about getting a Snapchat account (oh the struggle) but let’s face it, we must keep up with the times and can’t be living under a rock and refusing to grow along the digital movement but the key is to balance and prioritize your time effectively.
✓ Set barriers and boundaries for those individuals who loves to distract you.
For example, the chatty co-worker, who visits often and wants to kill at least an hour of your time each day, can be invited out to lunch or drinks instead, assuming you even like that person that much and can tolerate them outside of the work environment.
✓ Lastly, avoid procrastination.
Don’t wait to do anything tomorrow that you can do today. The more productive you are and the more you accomplish on any given day will mean more play time for later.