Indistractable explains why the ability to tame a wandering mind and focus on the task at hand is the most important skill you can develop in 21st century. You will also learn many actionable ideas and a coping strategy to deal with distractions that are getting you off track.
Traction gets you to where you want to be in your life. Distraction holds you back from getting there.
We’re distracted not only by external also by internal triggers.
To avoid distraction, you must realize what triggers you in the first place and then learn to deal with discomfort.
- Look for internal trigger that precedes every distraction.
- Write it down. Include details of when did it occur and how were you feeling.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Be curious and compassionate.
- Be extra aware of liminal moments (transitions that moves us from one thing to another throughout the day).
Timeboxing gives us traction.
Timeboxing lets you decide what you are going to do and when you are doing it. Eliminate all the white spaces on your calendar until you’re left with an action plan for a week ahead. Reserve 15 minutes every week and ask yourself:
- What did I do what I said I was going to do? When did I get distracted? What distracted me?
- How am I going to deal with further distractions?
Gamify your tasks.
Instead of running away from your pain, try to see new challenges that you didn’t see before. Try to tackle from multiple perspectives. Tasks become fun when you spice things up.
Hack Your Time. Hack Your Life.
Be frugal with your time as much as you’re with your assets.
Put on your oxygen mask first. The advice ‘take care of yourself first’ applies here. After that, invest time in people. Don’t wait until it becomes too award to reconnect. Your relationships deserve more than the leftover time.
When it comes to work, share your weekly calendar with your team. They’ll be less likely to distract you with superfluous tasks.
Hack interruptions at work.
Putting your headphones one or using a screen sign signals people you don’t want to be distracted.
To receive fewer emails, send fewer emails. People feel reciprocated to reply when they receive an email.
Instead of hitting send right away, consider delaying the send especially on Friday evenings. Plus, you might change your mind. You might realize what you crafted is an utter waste.
Unsubscribe from unwanted emails.
Process your inbox in batches. Restrain yourself from checking it throughout the day.
Signal people you honor your weekend and theirs by avoiding emails.
Hack group chat.
Group chat is like being in all day meeting with random people and no agenda. Treat it like a sauna. Get in just enough then get out.
Too often, people schedule meetings to avoid putting the effort of solving a problem for themselves. So, make it harder to call for a meeting by requiring an agenda or a briefing document.
Meetings should be used for consensus-building, not brainstorming.
Be fully present. Devices can distract you from the meeting goal.
Being dependent on your phone and being addicted to it are two different things.
- Remove apps you no longer need.
- Restrict apps you’re addicted to by using time limits.
- Rearrange your home screen with productivity apps.
- Reconfigure visual and sound notifications.
Don’t let too many files and apps on your desktop distract you from your primary objective. Dump everything on your desktop in “Everything” folder and search the file you need.
Hack online articles.
Save the interesting articles for later using an app like Pocket. You are destined to jump from one article to another if you don’t pay attention.
Hack social media feeds.
Plugins like News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, Newsfeed Burner and Distraction Free YouTube rethinks about scrolling endless news feeds.
You can only control what you put in, not what you will get.
Not showing up guarantees a failure. So, show up every time even if the outcomes are unpredictable.
Set-backs are inevitable parts of our lives. Instead of being contempt, be compassionate to yourself. Self-compassion makes people more resilient to letdowns. After all, you wouldn’t talk someone discontented into a downward spiral. So why would you do it to yourself?
Bonus Tip: Use pre-commitments.
Pre-commitments are exactly what they sound like. When you’re committing yourself to a particular action or behavior before you begin, you are more likely to act on it and stay on track.
- Effort pacts – Distance yourself from distracting things and behaviors. Use apps like SelfControl, Forest and Focusmate to stay focused.
- Price pacts – Put your money on the line to encourage what you say you’re going to do. But teach yourself self-compassion first before making a bet.
- Identity pacts – Say I’m a writer instead of I’m going to write. We tend to align our actions with our identity. Find accountability partners and share your timeboxed schedule.