Welcome to the third lesson in our Brown Bag Series, a sequence of lessons on a particular topic posted at noon EST. On the 16th we will conclude our discussion on how to confidently achieve your 2014 scrapbook goals. Make sure to check out the other lessons in this series.
Whenever I write a post for you, I start with the last sentence because I want to be sure I get around to my point. This is usually a question for you. And today, the question would be on Facebook.
So I popped over to Facebook, checked on a group, decided to re-design my page logo, and an hour later remembered I was writing a blog post that needed to be finished by a certain time.
Does this ever happen to you?
While I do have (and try to remember to use) an arsenal of tricks to really focus, I know all-too-well how easy it is to get distracted. The effect seems to be especially magnified when you have a moment of hard-won free time to relax and do what you’d like!
This year I’ve paid close attention to where I most readily lose focus and end up in a different place than I intended. Facebook and email are neck and neck at the top of my list, so they now get closed as much as possible. (I will readily admit: it is so hard!)
I also made another interesting discovery. I noticed that I will seek distraction whenever it’s time to get started with something new. It’s almost as if I’m reaching out for reassurance that it will be OK, that I’m on the right track, even if the conversation is not about scrapbooking.
While these activities are in no way bad, fiddling around cannot replace the magic of intentional engagement. Distractions take time from the activities I really want to be doing, like making pages. They take time from making more memories with my family and from deepening the real connections I make with online friends (like you).
How to Avoid Distraction
Chasing shiny objects (i.e. things that are interesting and new) too often is common barrier to achieving goals, but it is manageable. Here are some of the techniques I often use to avoid that rabbit hole:
Hide everything – I keep things closed down and put away not because I’m a minimalist, but because I know I will get distracted. Keeping tidy and having a process for maintenance means that you won’t have to get up to put that one shoe away.
Question everything – If I find myself involved in a task that takes more than 2 minutes, I ask myself “Is this what I need* to be doing right now?” This simple question brings my attention back to reality, where I can continue on with confidence or make a course correction.
* Note: It’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t need to be scrapbooking, that you should be doing the laundry or something similar. Take that conversation off the table. When you consider need, think about what fuels your heart. That stuff is just as important!
Use rewards – When you know what distracts you, use it as a reward for completing a task that requires focus. Even as little as 20 minutes of activity followed by a 5 minute break (on a repeat cycle) can be used to keep you moving forward.
Create a habit – Above anything else, it has been most helpful for me to create a habit of noticing when I am distracted – and cutting it off. The more you practice, the easier it will be to get back on track and not lose focus in the first place.
You can pave the way for staying motivated in 2014 and achieving your goals by acknowledging where you are getting sidetracked. Think about times when you sat down to scrapbook, but ended up doing something else; what caught your eye?
So tell me, what are your biggest distractions? Also, I’d love to hear what tricks you use to avoid getting distracted. Note: I’ve closed comments on this post, in lieu of fostering a more dynamic conversation on Facebook. Click here to join in.
Registration is opening soon for Start Fresh, an online event that will give you the lightness, clarity, and energy you need to reach your goals.