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How to Avoid Distraction and Stay Focused

Hi Crusaders
 
Happy Tuesday
 
Do you struggle to maintain focus on your big, important tasks?
We are so ‘plugged in’ to society these days that it’s far too easy to get distracted.
 
This is not really a new problem though. As far back as 2500 years ago, Aristotle and Socrates had already observed that we have a tendency to do things against our better interest.
 
We subconsciously look for distracting activities that are easier, more enjoyable, and less painful to do; even if we don’t actively mean to.
 
And if you are looking for distractions, there’s no shortage of options being waved in front of you:
 
  • Social media surfing
  • Instant messaging
  • Emails | pop-up reminders
  • Smartphone intrusions
  • Drugs | Alcohol
  • TV | Netflix | Radio
  • Novels & magazines
The battle we need to wage daily is one of Traction versus Distraction.
 
 
Traction is the ‘pulling action’ towards your goals.
Distraction is the resistance to your traction efforts.
 
Both of these are actions; it’s right there in their names
(traction | distraction).
 
They are both active processes over which we consciously have total control.
 
So, distraction is a function of what we do, not what happens to us.
It’s the acts that we take that define if we’re in a state of traction or distraction.
 
OK, agreed – but what do we do to prevent all these distractions from derailing us?
 
Well, we need to manage the four factors that influence our progress.
 
(see infographic above)
 
We have our opposing actions and efforts of traction and distraction. We also have internal and external triggers that fuel our interruption tendencies.
 

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So, simplistically speaking, you need to . . .
 
1- Make time for TRACTION
You must time-block sections of your daily schedule to focus exclusively on your primary task at hand. It can be for 30 minutes or 5 hours; the duration depends on what you want to achieve during that session.
 
One such mechanism you can apply to implement time management is the Pomodoro Effect.
 
If you need guidance on how best to manage your time scheduling, the process is discussed in detail in the BYDB mastermind program.
 
 
2- Master your INTERNAL TRIGGERS
Start by being aware of what prompts you to look for distractions. We all have a natural tendency to alleviate boredom, stress, fatigue and anxiety.
 
You need to acknowledge what triggers you, and actively confront it.
 
I find that often the most practical solution is to schedule timed breaks intermittently to inhibit these triggers.
 
 
3 – Manage your EXTERNAL TRIGGERS
Identify every potential influence that can trigger distractions, and eradicate them – even if it’s only for the set time that you’ve blocked off for your specific task.
 
This should include shutting down your social media, email software, and internet browser. (Unless you are working on the internet; in which case, you must close every tab that isn’t necessary for your task).
You also need to put your phone on silent to remove all notifications and calls. Ideally, you should rather put your phone in another room – it’s mere presence is a distraction.
 
 
4- Make pacts to prevent DISTRACTION
Make agreements with those around you to honour your time-blocking by not interrupting or distracting you during set times of the day. This will include your spouse, kids, friends, colleagues, assistants, etc.
 
If people know not to disturb you, then they will respect your request. If, however, this is not feasible, then find a location to work from that isolates you from the outside world for that period of time.
 
 
 Always remember:
Traction moves you towards where you want to be, and distraction holds you back and diverts you off your course. You have nobody but yourself to blame if you give in to the distractions around you.
 
Take control of yourself and your environment.
 
I hope you have a great week.

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