We live in a world that is full of distractions. Distractibility is not just for people with ADHD is seems to be the plague of our time. We see it in our schools with children texting in class, workers carry mobile devices with them everywhere and are accessible to everyone and everything virtually through these devices, at home the age of the disconnected family has arrived with computer screens in every room and conversation is at an all time low. Distractions are things that prevent us from giving our full attention to something else.
We have so many distractions to choose from and the list becomes longer every day:
- Our mobile devices can provide us with IM, texting, the internet, Facebook and hours of TV and video. We are always checking for messages, comments and yes … emails.
- Television is still a part of our world and can be a great form of entertainment or another reason to zone out. You can spend hours in front of the TV and not even realize it … the networks count on it for their advertisers.
- People can be a distraction, they are all around us and at any given moment someone is distracted and is looking for someone to be distracted with. Respect for people’s time is at an all time low.
It sounds a bit bleak, however the ball is still in your court and you do have control to a certain extent.
Some creative solutions to eliminate or at least tame the distractions in your world:
- Turn off all the alerts, noises and flashing images on your electronics.
- With PVR technology you can record and watch your favorite programming when you want to, not when the broadcasters think you want to.
- Set up boundaries with the people in your life and let them know when you WILL be available and when you are not available. This is especially important for people that work from home.
Creating an environment where you can work with less distractions and more focus is critical.
How do you stay focused and not distracted by the fact that you want to check the texts, IM’s, comments and emails? By scheduling ‘technology breaks’. This is something that you will have to work on like any habit and building up to longer times between breaks. At the beginning it may be difficult so work for a few minutes and then take a quick break to check your device, computer and the people you work with. Over time and with practice you will be able to lengthen the time between breaks.
On a personal note I admit that I have reached epic proportions in my own distractibility. I use social media for my business and it has gotten out of hand. I am speaking from experience here and I am working on this habit building exercise myself.
As you move forward the key is knowing when you need to focus and when you don’t and having the tools to help you to be successful in a world that is always on and ready.