3 Tips to Overcome Distractions
how to turn down the noise
how to turn down the noise
If you watch Kelly work for twenty minutes, this is what you’d see: five minutes of work, an Instagram scroll, a bank fingerprint login, four minutes of work, and a Facebook refresh.
Nine minutes of work, eleven minutes of a lot of other stuff. Can you relate?
Before passing any judgment, Kelly’s not to blame. Believe it or not, our brains are wired to get distracted. Subconsciously, we’re always on high alert for anything pleasurable, threatening, and novel. All in the name of survival.
Don’t get me wrong. Survival is important, and I’m grateful for our brains’ attentional system. But, with that said, we have things to do! We want to focus on what matters, even if it isn’t directly related to surviving. Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset said it best:
Today, we’re kicking distractions right in the nuts. Here are three tips to overcome distractions so you can be more productive and live with intention.
In this digital era, distractions are everywhere. Unlike John who can overcome his gambling addiction by staying away from scratch cards, casinos, and Vegas, we can’t just go “off the grid.” We manage so many aspects of our lives online, whether it be reserving our spot at the 5 pm Pilates class, checking what time the bank closes, or determining the fastest route home.
While it may seem impossible to eliminate digital distractions, there’s hope. Here are a few ways you can hack your environment to get digital distractions under control:
Eliminating digital distractions and staying focused means you don’t need to spend any energy on refocusing. That’s energy to spend on what’s important to you!
I wish I could take the credit for this one, but I can’t. Neil Gaiman, an award-winning author, coined this rule.
In an interview with Tim Ferris, Neil discusses why this works for him as a writer:
The rule is easy: Work, or do nothing. Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t fix yourself a snack. Don’t go for a walk. Don’t unlock your phone. Don’t check your emails.
If you’re on your computer and need extra help doing “nothing,” open the Do Nothing for 2 Minutes website. The website displays a two-minute countdown and restarts the timer anytime you move your mouse or press any keys.
I know this rule sounds too simple to be useful, but give it a shot. You’ll soon realize it is possible to bore yourself to work.
Just as a morning routine sets the tone for your day, a work ritual will put you in a productive headspace.
Because we’re all different, you need to establish a routine that’s right for you.
Here are some ideas for what to include in your ritual:
Just as your brain sees a dark room and tells you to flip a switch, the goal is to train your brain to associate your routine with intense focus. Imagine a world where you automatically get to work without having to give yourself a pep talk. Wouldn’t that be nice?
All this is to say, the best way to set yourself up for success is to work with your distraction-prone mind, not against it.
For the new month, I invite you to experiment with the following:
I hope you found these tips helpful in reclaiming your attention. Because spending your energy on things that matter most to you is proof you’re living intentionally. And you deserve nothing less than that.