Distractions come in all kinds of forms, and today’s blog is all tips on how to avoid distractions to create the life you want. I believe the secret is learning NOT to avoid distractions but to become aware of them and acknowledge them, and then Matrix dodge your little self away from them.
The thing is you have a choice to move towards the life you want or to move back to your comfort zone. It’s funny, as I sit here in my bed writing my first book (get on the email list here for updates) some sections are more challenging to write than others, and this happens waaaay more than you think. But my brain wants the distraction. I’ll find myself magically appearing on Facebook or Instagram, scrolling mindlessly wasting brain space and time. Why? To avoid the hard stuff, to avoid the sections that are outside of my comfort zone, to avoid the vulnerable, honest parts. If I continued to avoid everything I set myself out to do – I would never have built the businesses I have, sold everything I owned to live in an RV to travel full time, or finish this blog post. You must learn to recognize when you are falling for the distractions – this is where your power begins.
Let’s jump right in.
First, learn to recognize what distracts you – social media, email, your family, text message pings, you’re hangry, you have to pee every 30 minutes because you are so hydrated. You have to develop a plan to master these distractions, or they will continue to master you. Let’s say you have always wanted to start a travel blog so you can travel the world and roll in the dough (this is possible by the way). But you never find the time actually to start it, your Pinterest board is full of “how to start a blog” and tons of bucket list pins, but you are so tired after work you’d rather pour a glass of rose and call it a day.
Make this a Priority and be Specific
You need to make this a priority and don’t be scared to start small. Put your priority in your calendar for 30 minutes or one hour, and be specific about what you are going to get done in that period. Maybe that’s 30 minutes of research or one hour of writing, whatever. But don’t just put “work on blog,” have a specific plan to write on the best sushi places you ate on your last trip to Japan. If it’s not in your calendar with precisely what you are going to accomplish, it’s not going to happen. Period. You have to train your brain to work this way. Trust me, I have been my own boss since 2011, so I know a thing or two about getting stuff done when no one is holding you accountable but yourself. Treat this time as if it were a meeting you had to attend with your boss (oh wait, that’s you). That’s 30 minutes or one hour more than you did yesterday – every single step counts here, especially when you are juggling other work and life.
Eliminate & Avoid the Distractions
Now that you have your work in your calendar, you know that the time slot will be dedicated to just getting that activity completed. So, what to do about the other distractions? If you are a chronic phone checker, silence your phone, so you don’t hear any notifications. Or hell you can take it a step further like I do and remove all notifications (you know those annoying red bubbles are showing how many new emails you haven’t check) from your phone. This takes the urgency and the temptation to check your phone out of sight out of mind.
If you have family/dog/parakeet distracting you, pick your time to work when they are asleep, or not at home, or just leave and work in your car or a coffee shop. There are so many ways to do this, and if you want it badly enough, you will figure it out, and if you don’t want it, then you’ll find an excuse. For every distraction, there is a de-straction (de meaning removal). It’s up to you to recognize it and choose to change it. Remember, everything is temporary, so you won’t be working like this forever, but you have to start somewhere, even if it’s small.
When you do get distracted, ask yourself, is this helping towards or hindering away from my goals? Be honest – texting your friend about the weekend plans during your power hour is not helping your goals. It’s distracting you, and who actually texts immediately back – I know you don’t anyway, so stop giving in. This is why I stress having a strong solid why is so important. You have to have something to go back to when you get distracted because the distractions will never cease, and new ones will always pop up.
Adapting is Key
Finally, be gentle on yourself. Shit happens and plans change; this is why being adaptable is key to the success of creating the life you want. Maybe your car got a flat, and you have to spend your time after work at the tire shop, but that cuts right into your scheduled work time. Ugh, shit happens. Use the time in the waiting area to brainstorm more blog posts or create business-relevant IG posts on a graphic design app like Canva.
A way that I overcome challenges is when something doesn’t go as planned or interrupts my agenda, I think to myself – life is a game of Tetris, and I have to adapt. Instead of fighting it, I roll with it and make a part of my new plan. Because for the last 30 something years, I fought it, and that got me nowhere but stressed-outville so I tried something new. This is so much easier said than done but even if I am pissed off with steam bursting out of my ears, I repeat this mantra. We have no idea what Tetris pieces will be thrown at us, but we can embrace them, learn from them, and adapt to succeed.
Your power lies in your actions and how you react towards what life throws at you – take responsibility for your time and learn to rest when you need it. It takes time to develop the discipline if you are not used to it so be gentle on yourself – one minute, one hour, one day at a time. I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia in high school, so I have to work incredibly hard at focusing since apparently, my brain wants to prance around like a newborn baby deer discovering their legs for the first time. If you want to change your life you have to begin taking action to create it the way you want it. It’s not going to be easy but honey, it’s going to be worth it.
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