If wrestling with my daily priorities is one of my biggest challenges, then dealing with distractions is a close second. I don’t think I’m fully A.D.D., but I may be one of the most easily distracted people on the planet. My daughter Bailey may have inherited this terrible trait from me. My mind literally races all the time. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, it’s going at light speed. That means I rush through things, multi-task unnecessarily, and juggle way too much. I’m a terrible driver because
behind the wheel I’m thinking of something else. What’s worse, no matter what I’m doing at the moment, I usually feel guilty that I’m not doing some more important. It’s a terrible way to live.
So I’ve launched a new program to try and eliminate distractions. Here’s a few things I’m doing, and I’d love to hear other suggestions as well:
1. I’ve turned off the “Notifications” on all programs, including email, task lists, and calendar. Now I’m not interrupted by those little numbers popping up to tell me I have a new email.
2. I’m trying to only check email a few times a day. I normally check it about 50+ times a day, completely destroying any efficiency or momentum in my work.
3. I write in a room with the shades pulled. (Extreme I know, but I’m distracted by anything that moves).
4. I’m having my assistant block my mornings – no phone calls or appointments whenever possible so I can focus on writing and creative work.
5. I’m trying to cut down on interruptions at the office. I return phone calls or schedule meetings in blocks so they don’t interrupt other parts of my day.
6. I’m trying really hard to be “in the moment” with everything I do. When I’m in meetings, on the phone, or having coffee with a friend, I’m focusing on that moment. Believe me, this is hard. But it’s also important.
More and more solid research indicates that when we “multi-task” our work suffers. We’ve become the most highly distracted culture in the history of the world, and it’s damaging personal relationships, hurting our work, and limiting what we can accomplish. If I can do this, you can to.
Have any of these helped you? Have you found other suggestions that work?