Distraction and Focus


attention focus Apr 17, 2024


That word that follows us around all day stealing our attention.

Shiny object syndrome? Nope, distraction.

The urgent needs of our family? Nope, distraction.

I know, I’m so cold…

The to do list of never ending bulls#*&? You guessed it, distraction.

Email, text, whatsapp, messenger, linkedin and the list goes on and on.

Today, walk with me down a path of getting back to center while navigating distractions.

Distraction Is Real.

Hello, fellow distracted friends! šŸ˜‚

Let's take a moment to imagine together. Humor me…šŸ‘‡

Picture your day, your week, your year—free from the incessant buzz of notifications, the constant interruptions, and those sneaky thoughts that sidetrack your focus. 

What could you accomplish without these distractions nibbling away at your time and energy?

Many of us are masters at juggling tasks, but even the best multitaskers face a common enemy…distraction. 

It creeps into our lives, often disguised as urgent, and chips away at our most valuable asset—our time. Yet, what stands on the other side if we could tame this beast? Unprecedented clarity, soaring productivity, and achievements that align perfectly with our deepest ambitions.

This isn't just about silencing your phone or closing a few tabs on your browser. It's about redesigning our environments, internal and external, to foster a state where deep work isn't just possible—it's the norm.

Today, we dive into some strategies to help you get back to center, to focus. We'll explore our minds and schedules to reclaim territories lost to the constant buzz of the modern world. I’ll share strategies that have not only worked for me but have transformed the lives and businesses of many I coach. From practical tips to philosophical insights on focus, get ready to clear the clutter and invite in the immense power of undistracted purpose.

Are you ready to see what your life looks like on the other side of distraction? Let’s get started and unlock the full potential of our hours, take back our attention and earn more time. Because when we control our focus, we command our future.

Stay sharp and let’s start down the path.

Reviewing Distraction

Imagine the Ideal Scenario:

  • Example of a day: Start with a focused morning routine, followed by uninterrupted deep work sessions leading to completing tasks ahead of deadlines. What does this look like on your calendar? Grab a google doc, notepad or open your notes and layout your day.
  • A business scenario: A team meeting where everyone is fully present, contributing ideas, leading to innovative solutions and fast decision-making. Most never go as planned, what would an ideal meeting look like with a simple, outcome based agenda?

Identify Common Distractions:

  • Personal distractions: Smartphone notifications, social media browsing during work hours. I shut off ALL notifications and have standard check in times. If it's an emergency with my family, they will call me. That’s the system we have set in place.
  • Business distractions: Unscheduled meetings, frequent email checks interrupting workflow. Make a list, start the process of elimination. What can you eliminate, delegate or automate? These days, my calendly link rules 90% of appointments. This way, I can see what’s coming and be way more responsive versus reactive. 

Impact of Distractions:

  • Personal impact: Constant task-switching leading to mental fatigue and reduced productivity. This is exhausting. It’s a battle I am still fighting, but getting BETTER at every single day. Write and track this for 30 days. I promise you will learn a few things to improve.
  • Professional impact: Projects delayed, lower quality of work, increased errors due to lack of focus. Less is more has more meaning than ever before to me. I choose three, only three to focus and complete daily. If my day lends itself to more, then that’s just a bonus…track your days and watch what you learn.

Strategies for Eliminating Distractions:

  • Work in FOCUS blocks. Some call them time blocks. I have four I use, these convert to time slots on my calendar. They are: Focus, Social, Admin and Recovery. Everything falls into one of those buckets.
  • Implementing a closed-door policy during critical work hours to prevent interruptions. This was a game changer. I live by the 80/20 principle. My input is 20%, my output is 80%. What is the 20% of what you're doing that creates 80% of your results? That is your closed door time.

Mindfulness and Focus:

  • Incorporating 10-minute mindfulness exercises to begin the workday, enhancing concentration and mental clarity. Every morning (80% of them…) I wake up, grab coffee and go straight into a 10-20 minute listening session to some meditation. This helps me get into alignment and focus.
  • Regular meditation breaks to reset the mind and reduce stress, improving overall task performance. When I get distracted, or lose my focus, I take a walk. 15 minutes helps me get back to the center of myself.

Case Studies and Success Stories:

  • A tech startup implemented 'no-meeting Wednesdays' which led to a significant boost in code output and quality. What can you do like this for yourself or your team?
  • An author who adopted morning writing rituals in a distraction-free space, resulting in the completion of her book two months ahead of schedule. Again, what can you do for you to give yourself some space?

Creating Distraction-Free Environments:

  • Physically organizing an office space to reduce clutter and installing soundproofing to minimize external noise. The bigger the desk, the more crap you'll put on it. I have adopted minimalism when it comes to my desks. By not looking at “stuff”, distractions have seriously declined.
  • Digital declutter by organizing digital files, unsubscribing from unnecessary newsletters, and using a second monitor exclusively for work tasks. I really am not an email fan, so a few times a week I just unsubscribe, clean, move and organize email along with files to keep things tidy. It’s not perfect, but gets better every week!

Overcoming Internal Distractions:

  • Techniques for combating procrastination such as the Pomodoro Technique: working in short, focused bursts with breaks in between. This has been very helpful. I look at time in 15 minute increments. I can get a lot done in 15 minutes when focused.
  • Addressing perfectionism by setting realistic deadlines and accepting 'good enough' to move projects forward. I aim for 80%. Sorry about any typos or grammar errors but I have to ship it at some point…

Building Healthy Habits:

  • Establishing a start and end time for work to encourage a healthy work-life integration. Seriously, just call it. Less is indeed more, I promise.
  • Prioritizing tasks each morning, dedicating specific times to respond to emails and calls, instead of constant checking. This has been game changing for me.

Measuring Progress:

  • Keeping a distraction log to identify patterns and common distractions that can be eliminated. Do this. I promise it’s life changing when you do it consistently.
  • Weekly review meetings to assess productivity levels and adjust strategies for minimizing distractions accordingly. This is with YOU. Nobody else. Mine happens on Friday afternoons, then I look at my calendar on Sundays to see what I can eliminate for the upcoming week.

Action Items:

As we wrap up today's exploration into a life less distracted, I challenge you to take immediate action. Here are three simple, yet powerful steps you can take right now to begin crafting a more focused and productive environment:

Establish Focus Sessions: Block out at least two 30-minute sessions in your day where you do nothing but the task at hand. Turn off all notifications, tell your colleagues or family you're in a focus session, and dive deep. Use a timer to keep yourself honest. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Conduct a Digital Declutter: Take 10 minutes to go through your devices and eliminate or disable unnecessary notifications. Unsubscribe from distracting emails, remove apps you no longer use or that take up too much of your mental bandwidth. Make your digital space a tool for productivity, not a source of endless distraction.

Reflect and Record: End your day with 5 minutes of reflection. Jot down what distracted you today, how you responded, and one thing you’ll do differently tomorrow to reduce that distraction. This daily practice cultivates self-awareness and intentionality, key components in mastering your focus.

Implement these tasks starting today, and observe how they shift your energy and attention. Remember, reclaiming your time from distractions doesn’t just increase productivity—it enhances your overall quality of life. Let's commit to being masters of our attention and architects of our days. This change doesn't happen overnight, it happens over time. Give yourself some runway and watch yourself take back ownership of your attention and your time.

Stay focused, friends.

Thanks for reading.

I hope you found value in this.

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