Being Distracted by Distractions Distracting.

This year I’ve decided to simplify my life by doing away with needless distractions.

Granted, easier said than done, but so far, so good.

Believe it or not, the other day I did not turn on my email until after an hour of arriving at the office. Then, of all things, I checked my email and then promptly turned off the application.

I darn near had the shakes.

Life for me, and probably many of you, is a seemingly endless stream of ‘noise’ of people reaching into our lives. Email, Facebook, Twitter – whatever is your poison. But today’s world seemingly demands we be in constant contact with everyone on the planet. I don’t know about you, but this can be a bit distracting to getting anything done.

The other day I read an article in which claimed people who constantly multi-task are operating at about the same IQ level of someone who is ‘partaking’ in a certain substance illegal in most states of the nation. Additionally, the article claimed men were found their IQ’s depressed even more so than women in this scenario.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I surely need all the brain cells I have functioning at full capacity at all times.

I’ve spent a couple days observing what ‘distracts’ me during the day. Turns out, it is just about everything around me. And in an embarrassing turn of events, I seem to be in control of them – allowing them to run my day.

My plan is to take my life back under my control in baby steps.

Enemy number one is my email. My fault. Once I felt if it was important to read each email as it arrived into my inbox. I’d, in my self-appointed importance, set mine to ‘ding’ every time and message arrived. Some days my laptop sounded like popcorn in a microwave oven. Easy fix. Yes, I know I can change the little preferences to check at different intervals (2-minutes, 5-mintues, 30-minutes, etc.) but to be in true control of the distraction I simply turned the entire application off.

So when do I check my email today? When I think about it. And after I’ve read a checked them I simply put the email monster back in its cage but quitting the program. The silence is simply beautiful.

First day I corralled the monster I killed the day from a productivity standpoint.

The second big distraction is my cell phone. If anything, these ‘live’ devices are becoming electronic leaches first, cell phones second. Today nearly 75% of phones are deemed ‘smart devices’. Between capturing email, intrusive text messages in the middle of the night, and an occasional live human being calling, these devices are morphing into massive time suckers. And the sad thing is, we willing give them our time and attention.

In fairness, I must admit my affliction with ‘smart devices’ is now several years long and a self-inflicted wound.

My current solution is to put the phone on vibrate. Now this sounds silly, but a vibrating phone on my desk still gets my attention but in a much less intrusive way. Plus, it is much easier to let a call go to voicemail when it is gently vibrating on my desk as opposed to shattering the silence of the room. Thus again, putting me in control of my time.

The third problem is me -– or simply my seemingly hyper attention span. I’m not going to claim any affliction, but rather I believe I’ve self-taught myself to jump from one item to another of a period of years. This could take time and commitment from me.

My new plan is to start – and finish something – at one sitting. Again, easier said than done. I can many times be my own worst enemy.

So far this week, not bad. I actually completed this column in one sitting. Like I said, baby steps.

– 30 –


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