Distracted?

6 Nov

I think I was supposed to announce something yesterday. Oh, yeah! The winner to my giveaway is Stacie. You should check her out at The Morning Runner.

Now, where was I? Distracted much lately? I guess you could say that I am easily distracted, especially when a task seems difficult or unrewarding. 

cleaningadd

 

(Source)

Last month I was one of three authors asked to speak at an elementary school about overcoming difficulties while trying to accomplish goals. I focused on distraction. Specifically how distractions can thwart our efforts to accomplish goals and meet our own expectations.

I’ve written about setting goals before. I can’t stress enough the importance of setting realistic and achievable goals for ourselves. But sometimes goals aren’t ours to choose. Often tasks are thrust upon us. That is when distraction is the worst.

 While writing my presentation, I came across an interesting blog post by Author Jeff Goins all about the subject. He offered four tips on overcoming distraction. (I’ll paraphrase.)

  1. Name the problem. Goins said, “You’re not inherently lazy, necessarily. Everyone gets distracted. Everyone needs an occasional course correction. The first step to slaying this dragon is recognizing the Resistance. But have hope: the very fact that you are facing Resistance means that you are probably doing work that matters.”
  2. Take responsibility. Goins explained that we are the key to staying focused. We can fix this!
  3. Show up. “Do the work. There’s not much more to it. It’s hard and painful … It’ll feel good when you’re done. I promise.”
  4. Work smarter, not harder. When we get distracted, Goins suggests to, “do what Neil Fiore suggests: [this is my favorite!] practice delayed gratification. Reward spurts of hard work (an hour or two) with a ‘distraction’.”

 I would add to his list this:

  1. Make a plan. Think it through. How are you going to accomplish the goal you’ve set for yourself. When I’m writing, I like to outline my book first. It becomes my roadmap; my plan helps keep me on course. When I’m training for a race, I follow a training schedule (or at least I print one out and tape it to my wall so I can glance at it from time to time).
  2. Make a list. Write it down. Make it visible; not just a vague list in you mind. You need to be able to refer to your list and check things off as you accomplish them
  3. Set a time. This has been the biggest help for me in battling distraction. I literally set a timer. 20 minutes, one hour, whatever. I sit and write, or run, or clean–whatever–until the timer goes off. No phone calls, no emails, no snacks until the time has finished.

You will be surprised at what you can accomplish when you set a goal and banish distraction. Our dreams become reality one choice at a time. And it’s the conscious act of ridding your life of distraction, finding your focus and daily chipping away at your to-do lists that means success in the end.

How do you find your focus? What helps you defeat distraction?

 

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