We start a task and are moving along nicely on it, then we think of the email we need to send or a recipe for tonight’s dinner pops into our mind or we have an idea that could help a project at work. We pause in our current task just to do this little thing, after all it’ll only take a moment…. The next thing we know, it’s evening and we have half-finished projects strewn about and nothing really to show for the day even though we were busy every moment.
One antidote to this is to keep a notepad and pencil handy–or the recording feature on your phone can do the trick–and as your working on a specific task and you think of “important” things you could do right then, instead of stopping what you’re doing to spend “just a moment” following the distraction, jot a note to yourself. When you’ve finished the task you were working on, then you can take a look at the distraction(s).
There are very few that are critical emergencies and must be taken care of immediately. Most distractions can wait until you’re finished working on your current task. And, when you take a moment to really look at the distractions you’ve noted, most of them can probably wait indefinitely for you to get to them. Furthermore, there most likely would be no harm done if you did wait indefinitely!
Your homework today is to keep some sort of recording device handy, whether it’s old-fashioned pen and paper or something more modern such as using an app on your cell phone. Set an alarm to go off at regular intervals throughout the day—every fifteen minutes is ideal but every half hour or hour may be more practical for your schedule. The point is to check in with yourself throughout the day to determine if you are on-task or if you’ve become distracted. If you’ve discovered you’ve been distracted, then jot it down so that you can handle the distraction later; then get back on task. Of course sometimes distractions can’t be helped such as when your boss asks you to stop what you’re doing and help with another project. What we’re interested in here is eliminating the distractions over which you do have control.
You can do it!
Post in the comments section about other techniques you’ve come up with for eliminating distractions
I’m so proud of you!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,