Stop Allowing Distraction to be your Master
The information overload you are pummeled with every day is the most dangerous threat to your productivity and effectiveness. The amount of information available is exploding, there are more than 2 billion emails sent every day, 75 million blog posts are published every day, half a million books are published each year and there are almost 20 000 magazines in publication.
This unrelenting bombardment is multiplied by the constant barrage of commercial advertisements we see each day. In the early 90’s we were exposed to about 2000 marketing messages a week. That number has grown exponentially over the past few years. We are now exposed to over 30 000 commercial marketing messages each week. This 1500 % increase has happened in less than 20 years.
Add social media, text messages and the constantly ringing mobile phone and you can see that we have very little time left over to do anything meaningful each day. This incredibly fast advancement in technology has almost outstripped our ability to manage and effectively utilize these new tools. Our lives have become an endless cycle of pointless and wasteful information overload. We seem to just bounce from one communication activity to another, with very little thought.
Does this sound like your life right now? Does your day start with a smart phone next to your bed, filled with emails, text messages and even missed telephone calls? As you walk into your office every day is the first thing you see, a computer that is filled with emails and social media updates and requests? To add to this mayhem, your mobile phone starts ringing and an endless stream of people enter and leave your office, with endless questions and requests.
You are of course unable to give anything, including the people in your office your full attention, because you are concentrating on your other computer screen at the same time. This screen is giving you a live update of the share prices and currency fluctuations in real time. Wow! are you only having an incredibly busy day. The only thing that seems to interrupt this amazing level of productivity is the pointless meetings you must attend, where everyone including you, spends more than half their time answering emails and text messages on their smart phones.
Wow you are really giving it your all at this time; you are really busy, Busy, BUSY. Of course you are completely spent when you finally stagger out of the office at around 8:30 pm after a really long 12 hours at the grindstone. You have done an amazing job of spinning your wheels all day; you have achieved absolutely nothing that will contribute to your goals or dreams.
This constant distraction is the most dangerous and insidious threat to your future success. Distraction is the fastest killer of productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. Until you learn the difference between spending your day responding to things that contribute nothing or very little to your life and doing productive things that do make a difference to your life. You are wasting your day lost in distraction. You must take back control of your puppet strings. When you do this and you no longer allow yourself to be distracted, you will have gained about 5 hours every day.
Learn to focus your energy on completing a few really important tasks everyday. Stop searching your periphery for the next big opportunity or activity. Stay connected and feel productive and accept that you will need to delay your need for instant gratification. This is a process and not an event. Start slowly and build your ability to focus your attention on the really important things in your life and you will have discovered one of the most amazing success tools around.
When you learn the art of controlling your attention, you will have discovered a tool for controlling and managing your life. Block off chunks of time in your week to carry out those crucial activities that will create the future you desire. This chunks of time are called “meetings with your future” and are immovable. Should something come up and you are unable to carry out your commitments, you must reschedule the meeting.
These meetings with your future must be made in advance each week. They should be about 60 minutes each every day. As you build up your meetings with your future fitness, try to schedule two to three of these each day. This may seem impossible to you right now. Once you take control of your time and your life, you will easily find three to four hours each day.
When you are in the meetings with your future do the following:
1) Create a silent bubble around yourself, absolutely no distractions at all.
2) Set a countdown timer on your desk, with an alarm. When the time is up, stop the activity, even if you are not finished what you were doing.
3) Only focus on one major project at a time.
4) Each 60 minute chunk is for one project only.
5) Give it your all for 90 minutes and then build in a short break for refocusing.
If you introduce this tool into your life, you will transform your life and you will become a super achiever.