The joy of owning a business or being in business is the constant opportunity to achieve, improve or grow in many ways. But the demand to stay focused and achieve your goals is being challenged constantly. Some of those challenges include improving skill sets, keeping up with ever-changing technology and being keenly aware of the changing marketplace.
But, the most significant challenges are the ever present distractions.
What are distractions — really? The dictionary defines a distraction as something that prevents you from giving your full attention to something else. It’s a diversion, interruption, intrusion or hindrance. And, it’s also agitation of the mind or emotions.
Distractions affect everyone, there is no escape. And the ways we get distracted are multiplying faster than we can keep up! The funny thing is that most of the distractions we experience are self-inflicted.
Self inflicted distractions What can easily appear to be an external interruption or intrusion is usually an unconscious habit that we’ve adopted to avoid doing things that we find challenging. We prefer paying attention to our distractions to avoid dealing with a problem or task that we don’t want to undertake. Take a moment to think about yesterday and list the things that distracted you. They could have been phone calls, e-mails, clutter, meetings, text messages, social media, children, your to-do list, etc.
Now that you have your list, think about what you intended to do when the distraction took hold. What made the distraction more important than the work you needed to pay attention to? The answer to this question is the beginning of insight into why we don’t accomplish our goals or feel like we didn’t get much done during the workday.
There are ways to minimize distractions and their ability to derail our good intentions. First, clear your environment from what creates distractions for you. Get rid of clutter. And, if you can, turn off phone notifications. Did you know that it takes a full ½ hour to get your attention back to the task at hand if you allow your phone notifications to distract you? How much time does that add up to over a day? Or a week?
Another good way to plan to be more efficient is to create a routine for yourself. Organize your day with a routine that allows you to focus on tasks without distractions.
Yes, distractions are impossible to avoid. They are everywhere. However, we do not need to be at the mercy of the technology that can swallow up our time and focus. Be clear about what’s important to you and do what is necessary to support accomplishing your intentions. It’s important for success.