3 Ways to Overcome Distractions: Keeping Your Focus
Incoming! A barrage of emails, texts and calls wage a frontal attack on your attempts to work through your to do list. A few hours later, there’s finally silence. Unfortunately, you are stuck in a paralyzing daze, staring at your computer screen. You are unsure of what direction to take and lack motivation to decide, so you acquiesce and browse Facebook instead. You are distracted.
I’ve been there too. Who hasn’t? It is easy to yield to distraction so know that you are not alone.
Webster defines distraction as:
- Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention
- A state in which you are very annoyed or upset
- The act of distracting or the state of being distracted; especially:mental confusion
Webster also defines distraction as amusement, i.e., a harmless distraction. But most distractions are not harmless. They destroy focus, which decreases productivity. And without productivity, you cannot fulfill purpose.
Consider that each time you are distracted by a heated conflict, aimless phone call or false crisis, you are stalled in your purpose journey for those exact amounts of time. Then, if you add those times up over the course of your life, you may find a significant chunk of your purpose journey wasted.
So what should you do? Here are three things I find helpful and hope are helpful to you too:
Keep Written Goals Before You
“… Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” (Habakkuk 2:2b)
The words vision and visual share the same prefix, vis-, which originates from a Latin word meaning, to see. It is not enough to have a verbal goal or a verbal vision. Put your goal(s) or your vision in a visual format so that your eyes see it. When your eyes focus on it, your mind also focuses on it. So employ means to display your goals. Keep them before you visually using:
- Ever Notes Reminders
- Post-it Notes
- Index Cards (yes, I know this is Old School)
- Notes on your refrigerator
Avoid Procrastination: Take Immediate Baby Steps
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. (John 9:4)
Procrastination is the cousin of distraction. If a task feels overwhelming, break it down into baby steps. Then, take immediate action on the baby steps. If you’re tempted not to do your 30-minute workout, focus on completing 10 minutes. If you have a lengthy document to complete, focus on getting one section done at a time. Measured progress is better than a quick-sand-like stagnancy.
Resolve Conflicts quickly: Take the Low Road
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him… (Matthew 5:25a)
Few things are more distracting than a conflict with a loved one. I can make getting through the day like swimming against a strong current. Everything seems to move more slowly and emotions make it hard to focus. So take the low road. Put less energy into being right and more energy into coming to a place of mutual understanding. Agree to disagree and move on for the sake of your focus. Don’t let conflicts over trivial matters become a means for distraction. Your focus is more important.
I hope you find these three things helpful. Please comment and share your own strategies. I’d love to hear them.
Lenita Reeves is an author, speaker, pastor, wife, mother of four children and is hooked on all things purpose. She spends her time writing, speaking, blogging and conducting seminars on discovering and maximizing purpose. Click to receive your free Letting Go on Purpose eGuide. And remember to subscribe remember to all her blog posts at http://www.purposehouse.net.
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