Today’s blog is dedicated to my friend and fellow Scorpion Sally. We circle back around to this topic so much and that is – being distracted by what needs to get done.
Sal is a high school teacher and as you well know they work hard in preparation for classes, exams and adapting to the curriculum. We sit together once a week and have a natter and at a certain point in our conversation we look at each other and then say “well we better get off to do some work”. Not that Sal is my distraction, this is rather nurturing essential girlfriend de-brief time. No it’s not the girlfriend time, Its what happened after we got home that we find ourselves talking about the following week.
We clean, we cook, we fold clothes, we sweep the leaves, we find that the 5-hour work session ends up being 2 hours, we have the cleanest house or the neatest drawers, or we got caught in a binge because pesky Netflix tantalises us with the next episode will start in 5 seconds. Dylan Moran summarised it perfectly when he was doing starting his tax on Black Books. Next thing you see him over a huge pile of socks, “great now that my socks are sorted Ill go back to my tax” and the distractions continue. Why do we get distracted? do we humans hate putting off everything that requires focus and attention? Are you disciplined naturally? if you are can you please come and rub some of your disciplines off on me? I have a large workload this year, probably more than in years past, so I need to be focused. I have been experimenting and here are some strategies I’m trying
Let me just shout from the rooftops a huge disclaimer – I’m crap at discipline! I am though, experimenting some ways to help me stay on track or get moving. Let me know what you’re doing to counter this infliction that has dogged me my entire life.
- Own your distraction – Awareness is everything, denial is a dead end. Own up to yourself that your putting something off and bring your focus back to your goal for that day.
- Put Your Phone Timer on: Instead of planning to work 5, 6 or 8 hours, Decide to be focussed for 1 hour. When that hour is up, do a happy dance and then set the timer for a 15-minute break. Stretch, fold the socks, hang out the washing, when the timer goes back off you can decide if you want to do another hour.
- Communicate with kids (if they are old enough) Guys, I need a 1-hour non-disturbance time. Only if there is a fire or a snake or someone is injured with blood that you can disturb me. In return, we will sit out under the hose and have an ice block when I’m done.
- If kids not old enough – and your time to work is at night, and you have a partner on the lounge and every stroke of the keyboard makes you feel guilty, go back to number two. Put the timer on again ( maybe on silent as it may be a sticking point 😐 ) and then allow for some conversation connection time.
- Re-negotiate the deadlines, Exactly why do you have to get all of this done today? I started a question reminder at 9.30pm. If I stop this right now and don’t finish this until tomorrow is anything impacted? if the answer is now, then take a break, If the answer is a truthful yes then I push through.
- Turn off the email and facebook notifications – THIS IS ESSENTIAL and should have been point one. If you don’t know how to turn it off ask a 12-year-old to do it for you. You must stop the little flyouts and pop-ups, they are serious players in the distraction business. If you have a busy phone, put it in flight mode, or do not disturb mode, which I did just then as it rang whilst I was writing this post 😐
Let me know your strategies! especially in schools holidays!
Love and hugs