Three ways to defeat distractions – SCN Encourager 7/11/2013

Researching the cure to distractions on your behalf.

That’s right.

I’ve been on an exhausting “distraction subtraction” quest all for you.

Here’s my report.

Initially I thought I’d just tell you about my time-tested and top secret “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach.

But since this has never actually worked or even slowed down the momentum of my own distractions, I nixed the idea.

Instead I’m trying something totally new for me, which is to try and email you some sensible solutions for a change.

I hope you appreciate the effort this demands.

One author I follow (Michael Drew) believes that the best way to get on top of your distractions is to “let go of your ‘me’ baggage.”

I’ve always thought of “distractions” in the present tense, as right here, right now kinds of things.

But Drew makes sense. If we’re dragging the weight of all of our past distractions around – our unique coulda-woulda-shoulda’s – no wonder we have difficulty sorting and prioritizing the projects on today’s calendar.

I might try this (firmly putting past distractions in their place) but I’m going to be selective about it.

I definitely want to let go of the super-sized bag chock full of my past distractions. But I’m not going to give up carrying all of my prized awards, achievements, and public honors with me. Besides, all together, they only need a compact change purse for hauling about.

Steve Jobs was asked how he handled distractions and kept his focus on quality and innovation.

I was hoping to discover that he was a believer in my “if you can’t beat them, join them” tactic (aka “just give up”), but he prescribed a far better remedy.

Jobs said that he limited distractions in his life by simply saying “no” to things about “1000 times” every week.

Not bad advice… and oh, if I only had a buck for every time he said “no.”

The last piece of advice about curtailing distractions came in from a peer – one of us!

He had read an article (grounded in past practices and research, of course) in which a productivity expert promoted the notion that if you really want zero distractions, you need to consistently rise and shine at 4 a.m. and retreat to your own quiet space away from it all.

Whoa, Nelly!  4 a.m.? If I started to regularly leap out of bed at the “crack-of-yawn” at home, my wife would rapidly re-locate me to “my own quiet space” in an efficiency apartment on the other side of town.

The productivity expert also contended that truly happy and content people are able to go into a quiet room and just sit and reflect for hours at a time without any other people or distractions.

Whoa, Nelly! Some people can do this?

Thanks for this recommendation!

Now I’m not even sure I ever want to be “truly happy and content.”

So I’m just going to follow Steve Jobs and say “no” to distraction cure #3.

And hope you enjoy a distraction-free (but FUN) weekend, too!

Tom Page. SCN
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