Distractions are so distracting. Here are a few ideas to help you cope:
1) The first trick for dealing with them is to be sure you’re not causing your own distractions: You check your email, Twitter or Facebook account, or make a quick phone call when you had started out to work on a big project, like writing a novel. And then, every so often you do the checking again. This kills your focus, and it will take some time to get back into the “groove.”
You’re doing something you have as a top priority on your to-do list, but it’s boring. So, you distract yourself by, you guessed it, checking email, Facebook, or Twitter. Making a phone call. Playing just one game of solitaire.
2) You allow others to distract you because you don’t have firm rules and signals to let them know you are working and should not be disturbed until you come up for air. This goes for family members if you work at home, and for co-workers at the office. Close a door if you have one, or put up a do not disturb sign if you need to. Be sure to take regular breaks where you are accessible, especially for children.
3)Try checking in with yourself about your habits. Have you made enough things you need to do every day a habit? Think about the habit of brushing your teeth. You don’t even say to yourself, now I’m going to brush my teeth because you do it along with other small grooming habits, every day. You probably do it at the same time every day. You probably, way back when, did have to think about it every time for several weeks before it became a habit. Make as many things you do most or every day habits. This saves mental energy, so you will get more done before being tired.
3) Perfectionism can be a distraction. First of all, it’s practically impossible to get everything you do perfect. You must decide while working on a project: when does it become “good enough?” After that, aiming for perfection is a huge distraction. You’re better off starting on something new instead.
Bottom line: When you get ready to tackle the most important jobs each day, close the door, turn off your phone, shut down your internet connection, and forget about perfectionism. Make all that a habit, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish every day.
Phone calls tend to be my worst distractions. I don’t make them when I’m working but I do get calls. I’ll talk for a few minutes but then do my best to limit the call. Difficult with family though.
I’ve been reading up on distractions, Jacqueline, which is why I wrote this short post. It’s said that a few minutes of distraction can disrail you for about 20 minutes when you go back to work. I’m not sure that’s true, but if I were you, I’d work with the phone turned off, unless you have family members to worry about. If you’re using a cell, you can give them a different ring tone. And let the rest go to voice mail.
How funny that I did a guest post last week on a similar topic–not being able to write because of “things” getting in the way. Must be going around! Thanks for this, Jan.
Hi, Kaye, hope your distractions are less now. Thanks for stopping by!