Our time is valuable. This is something that I know to be true, yet still continue to give in to all the unnecessary distractions that come my way. Although older & wiser with age, I feel that the distractions we used to have as a kid (like being distracted by a shiny object or candy to make us stop crying) may have never really left us. Instead, they have transformed into even more ridiculous activities that we use as excuses when we don’t want to do something.
Let me put it this way, do we really need to clean our room at 10 at night when we should be writing our 10 page essay, or do we really need to sit down and eat again just because we don’t want think about all the things we need to finish before the end of the day. Distractions are inevitable. As humans we can’t help ourselves. However, there are ways that we can prevent these distractions from wasting a huge chunk of our valuable time.
Over the years I have realized how easily I, myself, get distracted- whether it be from obligations or even remembering to do a simple task. After trying to figure out the root of the problem to my incompetent attention span, I have narrowed down a few ways that have helped me to stay on track & actually get sh*t done. Hopefully these will help you as well. Continue below to read more.
First things, first– & you all know what I’m going to say…. RESIST THE URGE TO INSTAGRAM/ SNAP CHAT/ TEXT. Our phone is without a doubt our number one enemy & biggest antagonizer. It loves to steal all our attention & divert our priorities into scrolling and liking rather than finishing our to do list for the day. I probably struggle the most with pushing my phone to the side. Whenever I have a big task I need to finish with a limited time frame, I always find my self reaching for my phone more. As silly as this sounds, I sometimes have no other choice but to keep a distance of 5 feet between my phone and I (even sometimes drastic measures like putting it in the other room). It is the only way I can really focus & not be distracted from another hilarious meme in a group chat or the continuous binging of my phone from text messages.
Probably the most effective way for me to get things done– like blogging, emails, researching, etc is if I change my location from bedroom to coffee shop. There is no way in this world that I am able to really focus while in my bedroom. There are SO many things that are taunting me & trying to distract me– the comfiness of my bed, the sound of the TV, the messy pile in the corner… It is just overwhelming. There have been more than a few times that I was mid typing my essay or writing for my blog & woke up mid drool noticing that I just wasted 2 hours of productive work sleeping. Atmosphere plays a huge role in your level of dedication to get your stuff done. When you are doing work/ studying at your house, excuses like I’m hungry again or I’ll take a quick nap are easily justifiable. But, when you take your work to a coffee shop, you have no choice but to focus. The bar stools are not going to put you to sleep, you’re not going to eat because that costs $$$, and you’re by yourself so you don’t have to worry about being talked to. It is complete isolation between you and your computer, which for me is the best way to be fully productive.
My last suggestion in dealing with distractions is the importance of prioritizing. When you organize your list of things to do by level of importance you are eliminating the distraction of doing the easy things first & forgetting about the big stuff. How many of us do this on a daily business? We create a list of things to do usually like “Buy Groceries. Change car oil. Make Appointment. Take out trash. etc…” The most important thing on that list should be the “change car oil” (especially since its been months since you last did it hint hint Schaeffer). However, knowing us…we will do everything but the most time consuming task & instead probably end up at the mall buying junk we don’t need or searching the internet about things we don’t care about (let’s just say I spent 45 min one time researching about Giant Squids in order to distract myself from the term paper I had to write. Embarrassing I know). Prioritizing is really important & essential to staying on track. Create a list, follow it, and check off each task you get done. Trust me, knowing that you completed something as easy as a to do list, still makes for a productive day because tedious and every day tasks can build up & eventually restrict us from better opportunities.
Being adults with a lot of obligations to complete, distractions become our greatest challenge. There is no way we can fully avoid them, however there are ways to limit them by putting your phone in quarantine, situating yourself in a productive atmosphere, & prioritizing obligations/ tasks. These tips have definitely helped me over the years & will hopefully help you.