Distractions Are Not a Disorder!
Ah distractions! The running theme of our era. The nemesis of our age. The unintentional jerk away from our focus on task at hand to something that has no business showing up on our daily agenda. Whatever the distraction may be, we give in. We go willingly. We don’t even think twice about what we are leaving behind when distraction calls our name.
Distractions are notoriously fun, or else why would we become puppets to their every whim? Is it simply because they feed our inner desire for instant gratification? Is it because we feel helpless as they pull us like a magnet into the direction that we have no intention going at 9:30am when all our work and responsibility is piling up and deadlines are looming not too far behind?
But it can seem hopeless to master – we even get distracted from our distractions. With the advent of social media, iPhones, iPads, text messaging, on-demand instant entertainment, or heck, just Google, can someone please tell us how we are supposed to focus on anything at all when distractions take up so much time and attention?!?
Disclaimer: If you wish to blame your lack of focus or short attention span on some fancy new-age acronym like ADD or ADHD or a variation of that, this blog post is not for you. In fact, none of my blog posts are !
I am not here to make excuses for why you get distracted. It is human. It is normal. It is fun. But it is not a freaking disorder so stop calling it that. Get over it. You can change your behavior with the right intentions as long as you have a willing heart and a functioning brain. Period.
It’s really quite simple. Not easy, but simple. Like everything else in life, if you decide you can make this change from distracted to focused, then you shall and if you decide you can’t, well, then you won’t.
So, having probably ruffled a few feathers with that one – sorry, that is really not my intention but I need to be forward with you – I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but my productivity has more than quadrupled in the last year and this is the type of thing I can measure in direct income not just productivity for the heck of it, plus I continue to raise the bar on it, so I am doing something right even though I still love my distractions.
And I want to share the thought process that has helped me gain this level of focus with you today. May it be useful to you.
How to Gain Focus with 2 Critical Questions
You get distracted for one major and quite disturbing reason and pay attention to this one:
What you are currently doing is neither important nor urgent enough to us.
If you want to change this, your task at hand must be both important and urgent TO YOU. Not to someone else, but to you. Until you can get this right, you won’t be able to focus naturally on anything. Believe me, I have tried and fake focus is worse than no focus at all. I’d take distractions over fake forced focus any day of the week.
Beware though as you ask these 2 questions:
Is what I am doing important enough to me?
Is what I am doing urgent enough to me?
One caveat from this exercise: you may realize that oh dears, what you are doing really is not all that important to you after all?
And that’s not a happy discovery but it’s really necessary. But I know it’s not fun and I know how that can make you feel. I’ve been there. The answers to these questions can snowball into a whole life of change if you really listen to yourself.
In fact, those realizations are how I started to change my life, first by changing my stupid job to an important one where what I do is as important to me as the air I breathe. That changed my focus dramatically. Then I changed my social life, my habits, my hobbies, my routines, and slowly, I gain more focus in each area because I made what I do both important and urgent to ME, first and foremost.
So don’t get caught up in doing things for the sake of doing things. Don’t be too busy to stop and ask yourself before every task and every project and every responsibility in your life: Is this important enough to me? Is it urgent enough to me?
It bears clarifying that if something is important and urgent to you, it does not make you self-centered. You can care about someone else and that can be the important and urgent thing to you. You can care about your work which helps improve lives and that can be the important and urgent thing to you. You can care about your bills so that paying them will mean you are now available to serve others with your time and peace of mind. So on and so forth.
So please don’t get all mixed up in the terminology, because clarity is key here and the true answers to those questions will lead you to gain natural focus at the task at hand. Distractions will have no power over you when what you do is both important and urgent to you. So is it?
What is Important and Urgent to You?
Ask yourself the question every single time a distraction beckons your attention. Ask these two simple but hard questions and get to those answers, so you can start to see the patterns that keep you from getting anything done.
Every time you get distracted, you learn an invaluable lesson about yourself. You can follow these patterns over the course of a week or a month, and test it by replacing the task at hand with something important and urgent, and then measure your attention span. You might just surprise yourself!
If you want to learn the confidence and self-esteem to respect what’s important and urgent to you, and to empower yourself to overcome distractions so you can replace it with laser sharp focus, watch the quick video on the FREE 21-Step Confidence Building Series and grab it:
Use Your Inner Powers
Bonus: 21-Step Confidence Building Series