Cutting Out Distractions

In modern day life the number of distractions that we are exposed to has never been more prevalent.  Our attention is constantly being hijacked by some external source.  According to recent studies the average British person can hold their attention on a given task for only 14 minutes at a time before their mind begins to wander.  When watching TV the average British person can only manage 7 minutes of focus before being distracted, usually by a mobile device.  This can have devastating consequences on our productivity.  If you are person who has goals and are seeking to improve yourself then you will most likely want to minimise these distractions.

Below are some of my tips for cutting out distractions and being more productive:

  • Cut down on your phone time.  This is probably my biggest distraction but with apps like Moment (tracks the time spent on your device) and Freedom (blocks apps and WIFI during certain periods) I am becoming more aware of the time I spend on my phone and I have greatly reduced it freeing up my time for more important tasks.
  • Cut down on TV time.  Hours can easily pass by watching the latest series or catching up with soaps.  I used to watch a lot of soaps but found that I was getting nothing from it as they consumed hours of my week. In fact, I often felt worse after watching the latest drama unfold in other peoples’ lives. If you watch two of the most popular soaps on TV right now you are spending about 260 hours a year watching fictitious people living out their lives. I still watch TV, however when I do, it is usually something that challenges my mind or I can learn from, a documentary for example and I am partial to a quiz show like University Challenge or The Chase! Everyone has their vices!
  • De-clutter.  Having a good spring clean and minimising my work space always makes me more inspired and focused. When my environment is getting untidy it is generally a reflection of my state of mind and so a clear out is a good way to ‘Spring Clean’ inside and out. 
  • Responding to e-mails.  I have reduced checking my e-mails to twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.  There is nothing so important that it cannot wait.  If it is urgent, I know I will be contacted by phone.  Also, unsubscribing to nuisance correspondence has cut down my time sifting through my e-mails looking for the important ones.  
  • Plan your day. I cannot tell you how important this has been for me for achieving my goals.  If you start your day with intention and purpose it is amazing what you can achieve. If you find yourself going to bed having had a busy day but not having achieved much then I would suggest that you do this. I set my goals for the week every Sunday and review them daily to make sure I am on track.  Simple yet effective. 
  • Start a Mastermind Group – See my blog on Mastermind Groups for more on this.

There is a time and a place for distractions, of course.  Our minds need a rest and a little escapism never hurt anyone as long as it is managed.  I now plan to have down time where I am free to watch movies, day-dream or do whatever I wish without feeling guilty! It has taken some getting used to but I enjoy this down time so much more than a few minutes here or there feeling like I should be something.  Having time out also has allowed me to return to my work more focused and rearing to go! 

I hope you have found these tips useful! 



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