Taking control of distractions

Distractions cost us time. They keep us from getting work done. They keep us from spending quality time with our loved ones. They can be incredibly frustrating at times. After a day full of distractions, you’re ready to say, “enough is enough” and start taking control. You’re ready to do something about it, but where do you start?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Distractions will only happen if you let them. That’s right. You’re the one that’s in control and you are able to cut most daily distractions out of your life.

Step 1 – Become Aware Of The Distraction

We’re so used to distractions these days, we don’t even notice them anymore. Do you realize that your smartphone is distracting you with alerts several dozen times a day? Do you realize that someone walking by your open office door, or stopping in to let you know there are donuts in the break room is causing a distraction? The first step to taking control of distractions is becoming aware of them. Start paying attention and create a running list of things that distract and disrupt your day.

Step 2 – Evaluate The Distraction

For every distraction, you’re paying a price. Usually, that price is paid in time and it may be more time than you think it takes. Once you are aware of a distraction, you have to make a decision. Is it worth keeping or not? Having your email program open at all times means you get distracted every time the “new mail” alert pops up. Is it worth the distraction, or can you live with only checking your emails twice a day? Go through your list of distractions and decide if it’s something you have to have, or if you can eliminate the distraction and live without it? You may be able to live with checking email only twice a day, but decide to keep text message alerts on because it’s important your spouse or your child’s school can reach you in a case of an emergency.

Step 3 – Remove The Distraction

Last but not least, it’s time to cut out the distractions that you don’t have to live with. In some cases, this will be simple. You decide to keep your email program closed, and uninstall the social media or mobile game app from your phone. Other distractions can be a little more difficult to deal with such as discouraging co-workers to stop coming by to chat during high productivity hours or getting yourself out of the habit of checking your phone every fifteen minutes or checking in on Facebook.

Start by eliminating the easy distractions and then continue to do what you can to get rid of more and more of the rest of them. It won’t take long before you are starting to feel more in control and are getting more done than ever.

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