We spend a large proportion of our time reacting to the environment, research actually says that the average person is now distracted every 11 minutes. Things like people coming to your desk, your mobile phone, emails and social media are at the increase, which causes us to be in a constant state of demand.
While technology has given us a massive leap forward, it has also made us much more reachable, and in doing so, we are always in demand.
I find that the three most distracting aspects we face daily are:
- Other People
1. Lets look at why worry/fear can be sure a distraction.
We worry about what tomorrow has to offer, and fear the unknown. In doing so we are constantly finding ourselves in a state of reaction. We react to situations that make us uncomfortable (fear) and react with worry for things thats not happened, or has already passed.
“Actually, a large proportion of the things we worry about never happens”.
While ever we are distracted and reacting to the fear and worry, we are not focussed on doing the right things. The things that will impact our lives and business the most.
The trick to not allowing fear and worry to distract us and pull us of course is to keep busy, we will talk about this later. But, for now try to recall all the times you’re most happy? I bet you its when you’re busy, and then try to recall all the times you’re most miserable. And I bet this time its when you’re forced to react or have nothing to do.
2. How pleasure distracts us.
Because we are faced with challenges, tasks and stressful situations each day, the easiest thing for us to do is reach for something that offers instant pleasure. I have found that the things we usually enjoy doing the most, are intact just a quick fix of pleasure. Something that gives us a sense of achievement.
Most usually find tidying their desk gives a great sense of achievement and pleasure.
While it can feel good to react to these urges to get a quick fix, in reality does having a tidy desk give you any sense of productivity? You already know the answer to that.
We spend our time reacting to quick pleasure fixes in sacrifice for the things that appear to be more challenging, because we know the challenge may not produce an instant gain. But the desk sure will, these are times when you need to stay most committed and focussed on being productive.
3. Reacting to other peoples needs and demand.
If you work as part of a large company, or even if your a solo-preneur, you find yourself constantly reacting to other peoples needs and demands. This could be from your team/boss/manager coming to your desk, maybe its work colleagues, or if your work alone, this could be emails, phone calls or social media.
These are just a few examples of how we get distracted and react to other peoples needs, one of the biggest wastes of time is having time spent in a non-productive way.
Value your time, and others will too
Its wonderful to be a team player, and the sense of fulfilment you get from helping others is remarkable. However, you cant afford to do this at your expense. One of the best ways to conquer time wasted is to better plan the time you are accessible.
Think about people like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg or even work leaders such as Barrack Obama or David Cameron. Do you think you can just pick up the phone and get direct access to these people, likewise, would you anticipate an immediate email response from them.
So why do you feel its necessary for you to do the same, start better valuing your time, and you will find others also start applying the same value on your time.
So in order to get better at creating, and not just reacting you first need to know what absorbs your time. What are your distractions and where do they come from.
Use a notebook to identify what you are reacting too, where it comes from and whose responsible for it.
Now you have identified some of the areas that you are distracted by, you can start to see how you spend a large proportion of your day reacting rather than creating. What we really need to do is limit the number of times you are distracted each day.
By planning and scheduling our time better, we can control the amount of time we spend reacting to everything else. For example, instead of checking our emails every time they pop up on our screen, or overtime your phone dings. We can schedule allocated time each day to check our emails, now you may say that I have important emails that come through which need urgent or immediate attention. BUT, if they’re that urgent important who ever is demanding your attention can call you.
You have to remember that while ever you allow others to dominate your time, they will. This also applies to using social media, dedicate blocks of time throughout the day in which you will spend engaging with fans/followers. You can even dedicate time to schedule timely broadcast throughout the day.
Phone calls, by simply blocking out chunks of time and working from a place where you cant be distracted will massively improve your creative and production levels will go through the roof.
I recall reading some research recently about multi-tasking, a term originally created for computer programs. The research also goes on to say that we as humans are not capable of multi-tasking, not to any great result anyway. Sure we can walk, talk, think etc But think about it, whenever we are doing a really strenuous task, we need complete focus otherwise we cant do the task at hand.
Think about computers for a minute, and then think what happens to them when they’re running multiple tasks at a given time, they slow right down. Even the top spec computers cant run at full capacity when multi-tasking, neither can us.
The research also goes on to say that when testing activities on both multitasking groups and non multi-tasters. The ones juggling several tasks made on average 68% more mistakes.
You need to protect yourself from this at all costs, so by simply blocking out allocated chunks of time each day, you can focus on real creative time. No call to distract you, no colleagues and no emails or social media. Try it and I guarantee that after a week, you will see a massive increase in the levels of production you’re capable of achieving.