Right Commitment 02.18.19 // Michael Canic

How to Win the War Against Distractions

Medieval battle scene with cavalry and infantry. Silhouettes of figures as separate objects, fight between warriors on sunset foggy background. Selective focus

You’re ambitious. You’re results-driven. You want to win.

But you have enemies. They’re fighting against what you want. And they’re growing stronger by the day.

Distractions. Distractions are coming at you from all directions. As if meetings, phone calls and people “dropping by” aren’t enough, you’re connected by multiple devices to a host of digital platforms competing for your attention like vendors in a Middle Eastern bazaar. It’s never-ending.

So how can you win this multi-front war?

1) Confront the Enemy in the Mirror

First, don’t let you be the enemy. Many of the distractions that keep you from your goals are self-created. Like compulsively checking texts, digital feeds, email and voice mail. Stop. With rare exception you don’t need to be connected that often. Schedule fixed times throughout the day (no more than 3) to check-in. You’ll be surprised how time-blocking these non-urgent activities gives you a greater sense of control.

2) Move, Move, Move!

The fundamental rhythm of life is activity and recovery. If you don’t allow time for recovery then your concentration wanes and distractions can take over. Research shows that taking a 5-minute walking break every hour – preferably outside – helps to boost energy and sharpen your focus.

3) Schedule Out-of-the-Office Time

People coming at you from all directions? Then block 10% of your working time (a half-day per week or one day every two weeks) outside of the office so you can devote yourself to the strategies and projects you never seem to get to. And let people know not to contact you unless it’s urgent.

4) Have an Open-Door / Closed-Door Policy

While there’s merit in having an open-door policy – it shows you’re approachable and that anyone can drop by and talk about what’s on their mind – there are times when you need a closed-door policy. When you need to be free from distractions and you don’t want to be interrupted. An open-door / closed-door policy allows you to take control of your time when you need to take control of it.

You’re fighting a multi-front war. But it can be won if you take deliberate action. Don’t let you be the enemy. Take regular movement breaks. Block time out of the office. And close your office door when you need to.

Give yourself a fighting chance to win.

Make it happen.

Michael

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