Eliminate Distractions: 1 of 4
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.
All of those things drain your energy a little (or a lot) and rob 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. However, putting it into practice 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 this exercise.
What are Distractions?
How do you know when something is a distraction? If it interrupts your thinking or your workflow, it’s a distraction. Anything that draws your attention will take your time to address and then even more time to refocus on your original task.
Sometimes you’ll have a physical reaction that you ignore. Or 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 that you think doesn’t matter. (It does.)
Whatever it is, it diverts your attention and creates an energy drain, big or small. All those things are what you’re identifying 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 distractions:
- 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 – Others’ behaviors that push your buttons or make you roll your eyes, like talking too loud, smoking, or not showing up for appointments on time.
- Yourself – 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.
Look for Patterns
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 kinds 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. Choose that type of distraction to start your elimination process.