It is robbing you of your happiness, joy, productivity and is one of the main things preventing you from getting what you want out of your life.
Distractions are perceived as being very innocent, a quick message here, a notification there, but they are costing you BIG TIME!
According to The New York Times, on average there are a mere 11 minutes between our interruptions/distractions, and it can take us up to 25 minutes before we can return to 100% focus on what we were previously doing. And we are being interrupted, on average, 56 times a day!
While you might not have known the exact statistics, I’m sure it didn’t surprise you to hear just how distracted we all are these days. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can do better and we should if we want to achieve the life of our dreams.
So what does that look like? A distraction detox!
Put Yourself on a News Diet
Do you need to know what’s happening every hour on the hour? No! This creates distraction and also causes anxiety which permeates through the entire body, robbing you of joy, happiness and the ability to do critical thinking. Five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night to catch up on the day’s top news is really all you need. Otherwise, you’re just re-hearing the same news over and over with a new spin.
Create Clear Boundaries
This applies across work and home. I recommend the following:
- If possible, physically separate work from home. Even a desk where you always do your work will help brain realize when you should be in work mode and when you shouldn’t. It will be easier to shut off at the end of the work day if you can leave the computer and work, at your desk/designated work space.
- Define your priorities. For example, if I have client work, I isolate myself, put my phone away and get to work until I’ve completed the task at hand. Turn off the devices and be clear with other adults what the boundaries are.
- Be clear on what matters to you. Decide and then put those boundaries into action. For example, no phones at dinner, 30 minutes to meditate and journal upon waking, a nightly walk after dinner, no work after 4 p.m. Whatever the boundary, set it and stick to it!
Move Your Body
This doesn’t mean long, endurance workouts — dancing in your living room counts! Find something you enjoy doing, something that is fun that gets your heart rate up. It will relieve stress and instantly boost your mood. And a bonus if you can get outside! Being active in nature is the perfect combination. It reduces stress, lowers your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure which all in turn makes you calmer and happier.
Get a Handle on Stress
Stress is going to be in our life whether we like it or not, but we need to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives and that means getting a handle on stress. Some ways to do this include:
- Finding ways to get centred. Distraction is the enemy of serenity! That doesn’t necessarily mean long meditation practices, just some deep breathing for 2 minutes can do wonders to help calm and re-focus you.
- Take a weekly digital detox weekly. You can start small, a few hours one day a week but I bet as you get used to it your weekly detox will get longer and longer.
- Spend time with others and be present in those moments. Listen, talk and enjoy each other’s company without constantly checking your phone.
So now that you are armed with these strategies, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is one habit that you need to start or build-upon?
- What is one habit that you need to break/stop doing?
Think about this and actually start with only one of each. Trying to do too much at one time is a guaranteed way to ensure you won’t follow through. Once you’ve mastered one, you can continue to slowly focus on more habits.
Also, be sure to write down what you want to accomplish each day, and during the week to keep you focused and on track to achieve your goals. Allocate time for each task – including personal tasks like workouts, dinner time, self care, etc. Then, when it comes time, turn off/close applications, browsers, tabs. Clean off your desk. And get to work! You’ve got this!