Distractions are a part of life. The modern marketing and media machine does us no favors when it comes to focusing attention on the work that matters. Shoot, you might be reading this productivity email as a distraction from being productive! 🤯
My life is no different, but I wanted a way to fight distractions without making it an overwhelming use of willpower. So I came up with an odd strategy... the distraction journal!
That's correct - I began keeping track of all the times I got distracted during the day. At first it was just making little tally marks on my time tracking sheet, then I started writing a short sentence about what I was distracted by.
At first it was funny, then it was frustrating, then it was disappointing. I was disappointed in myself for not focusing on my work better, for not giving attention to my kids, or not helping around the house as much.
But after a few days I noticed I wasn’t becoming as distracted. Thoughts and desire for distraction still floated into my head but my twitch to respond and give into distractions had decreased noticeably.
By giving a name to each distraction and shining a light on them, I had decreased their power. It’s like we were meeting each other in person and I was able to say “not right now” or “hopefully not ever”.
By exposing and studying the distraction I’m able to dissect it, poke at it, and brush it aside much easier. At times I still decide I want to spend time on one, but the urge to immediately rush to distraction is much less.
Take a day or two this week to track your distractions. The important part is not to judge yourself, have some humor in it! The goal is not to change anything (yet), but simply to recognize where our attention is being pulled.