In my work with coaching clients, I've noticed a common challenge that messes with many of us face in our day-to-day lives: distraction. It's a scenario we're all too familiar with—you set out to accomplish a task, and then an email pings in, your social media feed beckons, or a phone call interrupts your focus. Like a cat with a pen light, you find yourself easily distracted, veering off course to respond and react to whatever is coming at you.
The ability to maintain focus on the actions you intend to accomplish during a specific time is a crucial skill for anyone looking to elevate their performance in any area of life. Think of it as a muscle that needs to be developed because reacting to life's constant stimuli is the default mode for many of us. However, it's the move from reaction to creation that truly empowers us to become authors of our actions rather than simply reacting to external forces.
So, how do we transition from distraction to action? It starts with being crystal clear about your vision or purpose for any activity you engage in. Whether it's writing a series of emails, working on a project, or any task at hand, having a clear vision of what you aim to achieve is paramount.
For instance, if your task is to write a series of emails, don't just see it as a mundane chore. Instead, envision the result you want to produce through those emails. It could be leaving people with more freedom and power in their lives, or maybe it's about solidifying an outcome for a project at work. Keep that vision at the forefront of your mind.
Now, here's where the magic happens. Your actions should be aligned with this vision. During your dedicated work time, resist the urge to check emails, texts, or social media. Ignore the incoming calls. Instead, stay laser-focused on the actions that will bring your vision to life. It may not always be easy, but it's a skill that you can develop over time.
I recommend starting with short periods of uninterrupted time to build your focus muscle. Begin with 15 minutes, during which you are entirely dedicated to the task at hand. For some, this might be a challenge initially, while for others, it may come more naturally. Gradually extend these periods to 20, 30, or even 45 minutes until you can comfortably maintain an hour of uninterrupted focus on your chosen task.
Now, you might be wondering about emergencies. What if someone needs to reach you urgently? In such cases, consider setting up specific alert sounds for key contacts, like a babysitter watching your kids. This way, you can be confident that you won't miss critical information. Remember, most situations can tolerate a 15-minute delay in your response.
Let's also remember that there was a time when cell phones and emails weren't constantly attached to us. We survived just fine without them. So, I encourage you to practice moving from distraction to action, one 15-minute chunk at a time, and build the muscle of producing results that you've authored rather than reacting to life's distractions.
Step 1: Define Your Vision
Step 2: Create Dedicated Work Time
Step 3: Avoid External Distractions
Step 4: Align Actions with Vision
Step 5: Gradually Extend Focus Periods
Step 6: Set Alerts for Critical Contacts
Step 7: Embrace the No-Distraction Zone