Quick. Check your pockets and your purse. Take a look all around you. Check under the cushions and retrace your steps, because something very valuable is being stolen from you.
It’s not your wallet or your phone, your credit cards or your identity. It’s something worth even more than that. It’s your attention, and it’s being taken from you all the time.
Few things matter more than your attention. It holds the power to unlock your potential. It can be the source of your success at work and the key ingredient to great relationships. Yet, distractions are working around the clock to steal your attention away from you, along with your time and energy.
And they’re doing a pretty good job.
Some distractions are necessary — like emails, text messages, phone calls, and alerts. Others are guilty pleasures — such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. But all are costly if we aren’t careful. And this only begins to scratch the surface.
We live in a distracting place, but you can learn to take your most valuable resource back. By intentionally putting a few strategies in place, you can separate yourself from the competition and enrich your life along the way. You can reclaim your time, energy, and focus and put them towards the things that matter most.
Steal back your attention. After all, it belongs to you.
Starting today, every Tuesday we’ll be introducing several suggestions for how to more effectively and fruitfully manage your time.
1. Meet in Motion
Are you struggling to focus or find your creativity? The problem may be the calm before your brainstorm. Research shows that physical activity before or during mental work actually increases helpful brain cells. The best answer to “writer’s block” can be a “runner’s high”, or just a simple walk outside. Try this: rather than meeting in the conference room, start meeting on the sidewalk.
2. Can’t Finish? Try Starting
The best way to finish something you don’t want to do is to start. Your emotional state doesn’t have to determine your behavior. Don’t feel like working out? Big whoop. Your feelings are fair weather friends, anyways. Once you start something unpleasant, feelings will fall in line. It’s amazing how much freedom comes from realizing this simple reality.
3. Stop the Emotional Mutiny
Everything was going smoothly until you got blindsided by something unpleasant and now you can’t get anything done. Few things can take your entire day hostage like negative emotions, but there’s good news. Before bad emotions rob you of your focus, you have the power to disarm them. How you interpret a situation and emotionally respond to it is up to you. When things are unraveling, stop, disarm your bad emotion, and reframe things positively. ‘I’m not angry with this person who cut me off; it just woke me up to pay more attention. Thank you decidedly-below-average-driver.’
How do you fight distraction?
Image via Nicole Priest