It’s an epidemic.
It’s everywhere. All the time.
It robs the development of productive habits in young people and kills the capacity to be productive in the work force.
According to McKinsey & Co., a major consulting firm, 60% of knowledge worker’s time is spent on this.
It represents a major interference and results in an inability to consistently sustain attention and energy on deeply focused, high-value work.
What is it?
Habit #3 for a more successful future: Manage Distraction!
Let’s face it, distractions are not going away any time soon. They’re just a difficult part of life.
Defined, distractions are anything that takes you away from focusing on the task at hand.
In order to achieve optimal success in the previous two habits, time-blocking and goal-setting, you must learn to properly manage the distractions in your life.
Here are 3 steps to properly manage the distractions in your life:
- Make a list:
What are your top five distractions? Maybe it’s your smartphone? Social Media? The family pet?
By recognizing that something is a distraction, you quickly learn how to handle it in a way that doesn’t take you away from achieving success.
- Solve your distraction:
Learn how to handle your distractions in a way that makes sense for you.
A few examples could be:
Place your phone in a drawer so that you can’t see it when a new notification comes through.
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb so that only the important messages and notifications can come through.
Go to a place where you know you will be able to work and think, free of distraction.
This simple step will allow you to establish a consistent pattern of deep level focus. Which, if you remember from previous blogs, is one of the two most important skills in the workforce today.
Solving distractions is far easier said than done. It will take a consistent effort on your part to choose focus over distraction.
But, as you continue to choose focus, you will allow yourself to begin growing exponentially.
- Have accountability:
Without accountability, it can become quite easy to cheat the system that you’ve developed for managing distraction.
There’s no one there to tell you otherwise, so why not scroll on Instagram or Facebook for ten more minutes?
The problem is, that’s only hurting you.
By establishing an accountability partner, you will have someone to keep you on track toward establishing a routine of deep focus while eliminating distractions.
What does that relationship look like?
Your accountability partner could be a close friend with similar aspirations, a mentor, a parent, or even a coach.
Whatever you choose, tell them your goal to manage your distractions and your plan to achieve it. Then they take on the responsibility of checking in on you frequently to see how you’re doing.
As you learn to recognize distraction through making a list, solving your distractions in a way that works for you, and gaining accountability, remember…
Progress > Perfection.
This will be a difficult adjustment. It literally takes some rewiring in your brain.
So, give it some time, a sustained effort, and be honest with yourself.
If you do these things, you’ll be much more tuned into what distracts you and how to handle it, resulting in a more successful future.