Starve your distractions, feed your focus.
Controlling the Sources of Distractions
There are more sources of distractions these days than ever. Back in the day people were only distracted by the phone, fax machine, solitaire, and co-workers. Now, people have to deal with texts, emails, Messenger, social media, news sites, music, movie, and TV streaming, a bunch of apps, and so much more.
So, how you can control the flow of these distractions?
For one, you need to be conscious about how much time you spend on your phone and online. Choose what you want to do carefully and focus on the most important information and communications.
Start fresh. Disconnect now.
It also helps to admit to yourself that you can’t consume all the information there is. There’s just too much information, too many people to communicate with, and too many tasks to finish. Once you acknowledge this, you have to choose on what you read and how to communicate and let go of the rest.
You may also want to consider going on an information cleanse by not checking your email, social media, and favorite websites, not watching TV or streaming movies, and ignoring calls/text. Instead, you should spend your time reading books or articles, only going online to do the necessary research and completing courses that will get you closer to goal(s). Doing this cleanse will help you clearly see that you can live without being online all the time.
Limit the time spent on even the online communications that you consider essential. It could be 30 minutes in your inbox, 30 minutes responding to text and DMs, or one hour of streaming. List these priorities down and follow them to the T each day, until it becomes a habit.
Choose Your Responses
It seems like it has become a habit to always respond to emails, social media messages, blog comments, and posts. However, this only makes you prone to distractions.
But why do people feel that urgency to respond to things right away? It’s mainly because of fear that people might think you’re slacking on your job, fear that customers might abandon you, fear that people will see you as rude for ignoring their messages.
So how can you get rid of these fears?
- Imagine yourself without those fears. You prioritize who you will respond to and do so not out of fear, but because your reply is important. This will significantly reduce the stress out of the need to send replies to everyone as fast as you can.
- Face those fears. Determine those fears and deal with them by disconnecting for a few hours. Then see what happens, how people reacted, and whether your fears are true or not.
- Now that you know how your fears and the urgency to respond are ruining your life, free a few hours of your day every day by not responding. Gain more control over when to give a response.
Break Free from Keeping Up With Information
As discussed earlier, the need to get the latest information or check the latest messages stems from fear.
If you don’t want to miss an opportunity, then control your need to stay up to date and spend your time on pursuing real opportunities instead.
If you’re worried that you won’t know the bad things that are about to happen if you ignore messages, you will still know anyway. Family and friends will still tell you about an approaching storm, a possible economic collapse, or any significant event that might affect you.
If you are concerned you might experience something bad for not being informed, the opposite might happen. You can spend your free time being creative. If you’re really worried, read the headlines of your favorite news sites, then tune out for two days before checking these sites again. Repeat this until such time when you can spend more days being tuned out and see if something bad happens. You can also do the same your social media accounts and you’ll soon realize that you won’t miss anything either. You will then break free from the urgency of staying updated and enjoy your life more.