Are you easily distracted? Do the commodities of life, TV shows, social media, and other thing keep you from getting things done? At times, I can be easily distracted. Someone can tell me about a new series on Netflix that is a “must watch”, next thing I know, I am binge watching 5 episodes! Then I realize that is 5 hours I have lost. I can’t get those hours back. A friend can send a text that says, “Did you see what “so and so” posted on Facebook? Next thing I know, I have spent 20 mins looking for the post, reading the comments and typing my own response. Yet again, that is time that I have lost from doing more important tasks.
Let’s face it. Life can be very distracting for us all. That’s why it’s imperative if we are on a success journey or on a mission to change things in our lives we must learn to avoid distractions and get things done. It’s really hard to do without a plan or a system.
Here are three strategies to avoid distractions and keep getting things done.
Strategy 1: List and Quantify Your Distractions: It’s really hard to avoid things you don’t know are there. This is why you should make a list of all the people, places, and things that are easily distracting to you. Do you have a friend or family member that sucks up hours of your week focusing on their goals, interests, and problems? What about those favorite TV shows that are a must watch? Are the day’s trending Twitter hashtags the focus of your attention? Whatever and whoever those things are, you need to make a list of them. See them on paper. After you list them, write how much time in minutes you spend on the distractions. This exercise might be the most sobering thing you do this week.
Strategy 2: Learn to Block Time: I am not telling you that you will be able to eliminate all of the things on the above list from your life. I don’t think we can or should. However, you can schedule those things into “blocks” of time. You can also block time to focus on those things that are important. My example of blocking time is like this: Saturday from 4-7pm is “Phone time with Friends and Family”, Sunday from 9 am – 4 pm is “Family Time” Sunday Evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm is “TV/Netflix” time. Monday from 8 pm – 9 pm is “Book Writing Time”. When those times are up, move on to the next block.
Strategy 3: Learn to Say No. This is the hardest and most important strategy. Many of us don’t know how to say no to everyone else’s priorities for our time. We must learn to say no to some things. This is actually where I struggle the most. I tend to want to help people, even when it keeps me away from doing things that matter to me. So here is a phrase that I have memorized: “As much as I would like to, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t add anything else to my plate. So I can’t do it right now.” These words are very liberating and empowering to keep my priorities at the top of my list.
There you have it. Three clear strategies to find your focus and get things done.
PS: You may have missed this great Ted Talk on How to Multiply Your Time. It changed my focus.