Undistracted: Techniques for the Undisciplined Mind
One of the biggest roadblocks in my personal and professional life is that I am easily distracted. Whether it be a task, a person or a new opportunity, I find it difficult to remain focused. Because of this, I sometimes stray and my otherwise disciplined self ends up lost for a day, a week or sometimes longer. I have 3 techniques I use to help with this problem.
1) Rule Your Email. If you let it, your email will dominate your life. It will be a leash around your neck rather than a tool for your life and business. Turn off email notifications on your phone. No, you do not need to check it every five minutes. No, you do not even need to check it throughout the day. Try checking your email 1-3 times a day. When you do, clean it out (Inbox Zero). Then get back to work. This one change in habit will truly free your mind and schedule up, and allow you to focus on what is really important.
2) Manage Your Thoughts. I am an Idea Addict. Regularly I think, “I have a good idea for (fill in the blank).” The problem is that typically I get these ideas when I am suppose to be working on something else. Have you ever been at work and remembered, “Hey, I need to finish that project at home.” Or have you ever been at home and thought, “Oh, I need to add this to that talk I’m about to give at work.” We all do. The important thing is to have a system to capture these important ideas and thoughts.
I recommend using Evernote and David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. Whether it be a task, an idea or an opportunity, using GTD and Evernote allows me to record these random thoughts and move on with what I have previously decided to be working on at that moment.
3) Retreat Quarterly. One of the most important techniques I’ve added to my productivity repertoire is a Quarterly Offsite. This gives me an opportunity to rest, relax and recharge. It also allows me to look at my vision and my goals and make sure I am staying on track. Most importantly, during this time, I evaluate my schedule, my personal development plan and my relationships with organizations and individuals. I decide what I want to add and what I want to cut from these three areas. I make sure to add margin back to my life. The Quarterly Offsite allows me to do this on a regular basis. It has been a clutch addition, helping me remain undistracted.
What techniques do you use to remain focused on your work that matters? Please share in the comments section or on social media.