Distractions Rob You of Time and Energy
You’ve learned to put up with a lot over the years: things that bug you, irritate and annoy you, and distract you from what you want to focus on.
Every one of those things drains your energy a little (or a lot) and robs you of time. Every single day! How much time do you lose with distractions pulling your attention at work? At home? My guess is a lot. What if there were a way to reclaim those hours? Would you be interested?
I can, with confidence, say it’s possible. I’ve seen it played out over and over again with clients since I started coaching in 1994. It’s all about knowing what it is you put up with and then eliminating it for good.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, yes, it’s easy to understand the concept, even the process. Putting it into practice, though, takes a little more time and effort, and sometimes the support of a team.
The process is a 3-step approach and looks at your whole life, not just home or work. So as I share the steps with you, consider all aspects of your life.
Step 1: Identify
Start making a list of all the things you put up with, all the things that bug you, all the things that pull your attention and distract you from what you want to focus on. It could be something as simple as a pair of broken sunglasses, as we mention in our book, It’s Not the Bears that Will Get you: It’s the Bugs. Or it could be as big as something your boss does every day to irritate or annoy you. Nothing is too big or too small to add to your list.
Download our worksheet, What’s Bugging You, to use as you go through his exercise.
What are Distractions
How do you know when something is a distraction? The obvious ones are the things and people that interrupt your thought flow or work process. Anything brought to your attention is going to take time, and then more time to refocus your attention on your original task.
Sometimes you’ll have a physical reaction, but you don’t pay attention to it: You know it happens, but you’re not using the signs to help you get rid of the source of the problem. Your responses might be as simple as rolling your eyes, or an internal dialogue that sounds something like, “Oh, no. Do I have to listen to him again?” Or it may be a more subtle inner upset.
Whatever it is, your attention is always diverted, and there’s some kind of energy drain, big or small. That’s what you’re paying attention to as you make your list.
Keep your list with you for a few days and notice what you put up with, perhaps without you having been consciously aware of it before. When you learn to put up with things it becomes an unconscious habit. I’m asking you to pay attention – become conscious of what you’re doing, how you’re responding, and how you and your body react to people and things in your life.
Classify Your Distractions
Things on your list will fall into one of four types of distraction:
- Things – Physical things you put up with, like burned out light bulbs, dirty cups in the office kitchen, or stacks of paper on your desk.
- Events – Events or meetings you’ve committed to attending, like committees, parties (business and personal), networking events, and dinners or lunches.
- Other People – The behaviors of others that push your buttons or make you roll your eyes, like talking too loud, smoking, or not showing up for appointments on time.
- Yourself – Your habits or behaviors you either want to eliminate or want to learn, like not gossiping, exercising, biting your nails, and micro-managing staff.
Now look at your list and assign one of these types of distractions to each item on your list.
A pattern will emerge regarding the types of things you tend to put up with and allow to distract you the most. You’ll likely have all types of distractions on your list. However, one type will stand out as being the one that is creating the most upset and distraction in your life. This is the place to start your elimination.
In the next part, I’ll share how to eliminate the things on your list so you can reclaim those hours and become a Bug-Free Zone©.