Distractions are the biggest enemy that will rob you of your time and your ability to fulfill your potential. So, how can you take back control of your time and attention?
Here are three strategies for overcoming distractions and finding focus.
1. Give yourself three main priorities each day.
Business author James C. Collins once said, “If you have more than three priorities then you don’t have any.”
A long list of things to do will often leave you scattered and overwhelmed, which will lead to difficulty in getting started, and then you’re more susceptible to giving in to distractions.
The simple solution is to be clear on the three main objectives that need to be done each day. This will give you more of a purpose, and you won’t be so inclined to mind wander or get off task.
So, each morning or the night before, ask yourself: What are the three most important things I need to achieve today?
Any other tasks should be put onto a separate to-do list, and you can begin to tackle those less-important tasks once you’ve accomplished the three main priorities.
2. Give yourself a shorter time frame.
More hours worked doesn’t necessarily mean more things get done. Parkinson’s law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
- If you have 4 hours to do something, it will take 4hours.
- If you have 10 days to do something, it will take 10 days.
- If you have 5 months to do something, it will take 5 months.
So to eliminate distractions, give yourself a shorter timeline to finish your work. Create extra urgency so you simply don’t have the time to be distracted.
3. Put yourself in a distraction-free mode.
Stanford psychologist Dr. BJ Fogg says, “Design beats willpower.” One of the most effective ways to eliminate distractions is
Author Simon Sinek has talked about how he wrote one of his books while being in the sky sitting on airplanes. He says he would book random and cheap flights just to use that time to write because there was no internet, and it was much harder to be distracted.
This may be an extreme example. But think: How can you create a distraction-free mode in your environment?
Do you need a website and blocking app? Do you need noise-canceling headphones, or do you need to put your phone in another room?
Remove as many excuses and distractions as possible so you can bring your full attention to the task at a time.